Native Raspberry

Rubus parvifolius L.

Rubus parvifolius is a member of the Raspberry group of Rubus species and is native to Eastern Australia.
Synonyms -Rubus macropodus, Rubus zahlbrucknerianus, Rubus boormanii, Rubus simsonianus, Rubus tasmanicus, Rubus walterianus, Rubus triphyllus

Family: Rosaceae.


Rubus is from the Latin ruber meaning red and refers to the red immature berries.
Parvifolius refers to.
Native Raspberry refers to its Australian origin and association with the Raspberry group within the Rubus genus.

Other names:

Native Raspberry.


Native Raspberry is a semi deciduous, perennial shrub with scrambling, prickly stems (canes). The stems may take root where they touch the ground. The broad leaves are 3-15 cm long and divided into 3-5 toothed and almost stalkless leaflets. The upper side of the leaf is green and the underside much lighter and almost white. The pink to red flowers are on 2-3 cm stalks and each has 5 rounded petals that are 7-20 mm long with numerous stamens. The succulent, hollow fruits are an aggregation of numerous tiny fruitlets that are red.
Native to eastern Australia, Native Raspberry has naturalised in Japan, China, Taiwan and Vietnam. It flowers in summer.


See the Weedy Blackberry and Rose key.



First leaves:



Compound. Alternate, Leaflets 3 or 5, pinnate. End leaflet is larger than the side leaflets. Basal leaflet pairs not lobed. Prickles on underside mid rib. Upper side green and underside much lighter and almost white. Many are shed in winter.
Stipules - narrow, persistent, undivided and attached to the base of the petiole.
Petiole - (10)15-55 mm long with prickles underneath. Lateral petiolules (0)1-2(4) mm long, terminal petiolule 3-35 mm long.
Blade - of terminal leaflet (10)20-50 mm long, (8)15-40 mm wide, egg shaped to broadly elliptic, base rounded to broadly wedge shaped (cuneate). Margin double toothed (biserrate) and sometimes lobed below. Tip pointed to rounded. Upper surface almost hairless and wrinkled. Lower surface grey to white felted with pilose hairs that obscure the lamina. Other leaflets similar but smaller. Prickles on midribs of leaflets on the underside.


Many primocanes to 1000 mm long arising from the base, prostrate or spreading, soft and green at the tips to woody and red purple below, rounded or round angled, forms roots where they touch the ground. Primocanes covered with dense, loose non-glandular hairs and sometimes it also has long or short pale-headed glandular hairs (softly whitish hairy when young becoming somewhat glabrescent with age). Hairs may disappear with age. It often has a white waxy coating that disappears with age. The canes usually only live for 2 years, but some live longer.
Prickles to 1-2(3.5) mm long, straight or curved, declined, and occur on the faces and angles of the canes. 10-15 per 5 cm length.
Floricanes arise from the leaf axils of the primocanes and end in a spray of flowers. Prickles recurved.

Flower head:

Inflorescences short terminal panicles of 4-9 flowers above solitary flowers in the upper leaf axils of floricane; leaves below inflorescence of 3 or 5 leaflets, with petiole (1)1.5-3 cm long, lateral petiolules 0-3 mm long, terminal petiolule 0.5-1.5 cm long, terminal leaflet(1.2)1.7-4.5 cm long, 1.2-3.5 cm wide. Mature pedicels 1-3 cm long; rachis indumentum of dense, erect pilose hairs, extending onto pedicels, glandular hairs absent (Barker, 2007).


Pink to red, numerous, terminal or axillary, bisexual, 5 petalled, 15-30 mm diameter on hairy stalks with a few prickles. Conical receptacle.
Ovary - Styles pink. Young carpels smooth and hairless (glabrous).
Sepals - Armed or un-armed, densely pubescent with pilose hairs, erect or spreading, not reflexed, apex mucronate to long acuminate.
Petals - 5, shorter than the sepals, 4-6 mm long, 3-5 mm wide, orbicular to obovate, pink or red, touching, not crumpled, not cupped, but sometimes incurved, apex rounded or acute.
Stamens - Many. shorter than styles. Filaments pink and usually flattened.
Anthers - Glabrous.


Almost globular cluster, 10-20 mm diameter of shiny, globular, one seeded, fleshy drupelets (berries). Green initially then ripening to a red, hollow berry or sometimes only a few drupelets will develop. Young carpels smooth and hairless (glabrous).


Light to dark brown, kidney shaped to oval, 2-3 mm long and pitted deeply and irregularly.


Large, woody crown.

Key Characters:

Primocanes softly whitish hairy when young becoming somewhat glabrescent with age,
Primocanes rounded or round angled.
Leaves pinnate and mostly with 3 leaflets and sometimes 5 leaflets and densely grey or white hairy underneath.
Leaflets more or less sessile;
About 7 flowers per inflorescences
Petals pink or red, touching, not cupped, not crumpled.
Woody, prickly shrubs.
Leaflets toothed.
Calyx single, not reflexed.
Carpels becoming little drupes united in a juicy head on the convex torus.
Mature fruit red, falling away from the receptacle when ripe.
Adapted from Robyn and Bill Barker and Gwen Harden.


Life cycle:

Perennial. Flowers December to February.


Tolerates full sun to full shade but plants grow slowly in full shade.


By seed and daughter plants that form where canes contact the ground and take root.
Produces seed without fertilization. Pollen is required to stimulate ovule development but doesn't fertilize the egg. The pollen can come from the same or other Native Raspberry plants. The resulting plants are called apomicts and are clones of the mother plant. This means they are very unlikely to develop herbicide resistance or tolerance to biocontrol agents.

Flowering times:

Summer in NSW.
December to February in WA

Seed Biology and Germination:

Seed short lived in the soil.

Vegetative Propagules:

Tip rooting canes, root fragments and cane cuttings. Stems coppice profusely when cut.


Hybridizes with Rubus hillii.


Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Canes and roots are transported by earth moving equipment and water. Water, birds (especially emus) and foxes spread the seed.
Dumping of garden refuse is a common source of infestations.
Seedling survival is usually low. Most spread is from canes rooting at the tips and forming new daughter plants when the cane dies. Suckering is often increased after spraying with hormone herbicides, slashing, cultivation or burning.

Origin and History:

Native to eastern Australia.


There are no native Rubus species in WA and five introduced Rubus species in WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.


Water courses and damp areas.
Forested gullies especially above 2000 feet.


Temperate, humid and sub-humid regions with an annual rainfall greater than 500 mm.


More abundant on fertile soils.

Plant Associations:

Grassland, grassy woodland, dry to wet sclerophyll forest, cool and temperate rainforest, fresh water wetlands and riparian communities and many others.



Berries are picked for food, preserves, jam, pies, wine, liqueurs.
Fruit is rich in vitamin C.


Weed of pastures, streams, bushland, roadsides, gardens, orchards, plantations and disturbed areas.
Reduces access to amenity areas and streams.


Not recorded as toxic.


Management and Control:

Grazing prevents tip rooting, goats and deer are more effective than sheep and cattle. Sheep or cattle rarely eat leaves, but cattle nibble the new young shoots and cause trampling damage, which usually stops or slows the rate of spread.
Goats are becoming a favoured method of non-chemical control. Infested areas are grazed with 7.5 goats per ha in the first year, then 1.25 goats per ha in subsequent years.
Slashing alone is ineffective.
If necessary, slash in winter before herbicide application. Late slashing can decrease the effectiveness of herbicides.
A single cultivation usually increases the infestation and multiple cultivations whilst effective may lead to erosion and soil structure problems.
Scalping to 30 cm and root raking can be effective and expensive and requires a follow up with other control measures to control re-shooting root and stem fragments and seedlings. Rehabilitation of the site is required to prevent reinfestation.
Mechanical removal, or slashing and burning followed by cultivation, can provide control if repeated regularly and then followed by planting of a competitive, preferably perennial, pasture species that are grazed by cattle or goats.
Seedlings rarely establish in dense pasture.
Control with herbicides is usually the most cost effective. Metsulfuron and triclopyr plus picloram have provided the best results. Glyphosate can be used in home gardens or other sensitive areas. Dead canes may be burnt or slashed in the following season to allow access and rehabilitation of the site.
Hand weeding is difficult because the seedlings are difficult to pull and new plants often establish from broken roots.
Fire provides little control alone but assists access for herbicide application or other controls.
Stagger the removal of large infestations to allow native animals to relocate.
Triclopyr (Garlon®) or triclopyr + picloram (Grazon®) generally provides good control any time the plant is actively growing with good leaf area from October to April. Metsulfuron appears to have an optimal application time of November to March and glyphosate should be restricted to the December to March period.
Basal bark applications using Access® plus diesel can be used where canes are removed mechanically.
In Pine plantations hexazinone can be used.
Follow up treatments are essential for high levels of control and to control suckering at the periphery of the bush in the season following spraying.
Low volume spraying is usually effective providing the amount of active ingredient applied per bush is kept constant.
For high volume spraying use 1 litre of mix for each 2.5 cubic metres of Native Raspberry bush (or 2.5 square metres of low lying bushes). This is equivalent to about 4000 L/ha of spray mix being applied.
In large infestations, consider using the cheaper metsulfuron for a year or two to reduce the size of the infestation then follow up with the more effective and costly triclopyr + picloram herbicides.


Eradication strategies:

Mechanical control is difficult and most of the root system must be removed for effective control.
It is difficult to eradicate. 3 annual, summer applications of 1 L of Grazon® plus 250 mL of Pulse® Penetrant in 100 L of water is expected to provide eradication on 30% of sites. Replant native species after control has been achieved.
On large infestations, 10 g metsulfuron(600g/kg) plus 250 mL Pulse® Penetrant in 100 L water, applied in summer when the plant is actively growing, provides a cheaper option to reduce the size of the infestation before Grazon® is used.

Herbicide resistance:

None reported.
It is extremely unlikely that herbicide resistance will develop in Native Raspberry because it is apomictic and all plants are clones of the mother plant.
Native Raspberry is more tolerant to 2,4,5 T than other Blackberry species (Milne & Dellow, 1998)

Biological Control:

Biological control agents introduced for European Blackberry control have little effect on Native Raspberry.

Related plants:

There are no native Rubus species in WA.
Blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans = Rubus discolor = Rubus procerus, Rubus fruticosus, Rubus ulmifolius)
Blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans) is the main weedy variety in WA. Its main flowering is in December to January and it has white flowers (though it may be pinkish in the bud). The leaves tend to be whitish on the lower surface.
Boysenberry is a cross between a Raspberry (Rubus idaeus), a Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), an American Dewberry (Rubus aboriginum) and a Loganberry (Rubus × loganobaccus). It has narrow straight thorns.
California Dewberry (Rubus ursinus) is not naturalised in Australia.
Cutleaf Blackberry (Rubus laciniatus ssp. laciniatus) has cut leaf - see diagram.
Dewberry (Rubus roribaccus) is in NSW and Victoria.
Elmleaf Blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius) has pinkish petals and smaller leaves than R. anglocandicans. Some varieties are thornless.
Keriberry (Rubus rugosus) has leaves that are green on top and whitish underneath and roundish canes covered in brown hairs.
Kittatinny Blackberry (Rubus bellobatus)
Loganberry (Rubus loganobaccus, Rubus x loganobaccus) has narrow straight thorns and usually flowers later than blackberry.
Mountain Raspberry (Rubus gunnianus)
Native Raspberry (Rubus hillii = Rubus moluccanus var. trilobus A.R.Bean) is a native of the east coast of Australia and has simple palmately lobed leaves
that tend to be green on the upper an lower surfaces. The flowers are white with no pink tinges there are glandular hairs on the canes that look like red dots under a hand lens.
Plains or Bundy (American) Blackberry (Rubus laudatus) flowers in September to November with fruit in December - somewhat earlier than Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
Rose-leaved Bramble (Rubus rosifolius) is a native plant of the east coast of Australia.
Thimbleberry (Rubus parvifolius, Rubus rosifolius) is a native plant of the east coast of Australia and Tasmania. It has almost stalkless leaflets with the upper side being green and the underside almost white. The flowers are pink to red flowers on 2-3 cm stalks.
Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius)
Yellow Raspberry (Rubus ellipticus)
Rubus alceifolius
Rubus chloocladus
Rubus cissburiensis
Rubus discolor = Rubus procerus is not in Australia but the older literature refers to R. anglocandicans as R. discolor in Western Australia and R. procerus in the eastern states.
Rubus koehleri
Rubus leightonii
Rubus odoratus is similar to Thimbleberry and occurs in SA and Tasmania.
Rubus polyanthemus
Rubus pyramidalis
Rubus radula
Rubus rosaceus
Rubus selmeri = R. laciniatus
Rubus vestitus

Apple (Pirus malus), Pear (Pirus communis), Quince (Cydonia vulgaris), Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), Plum (Prunus domestica), Apricot (Prunus armeniaca), Almond (Prunus amygdalus), Peach (Prunus persica) and Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) are all in the same family as Raspberry.

Plants of similar appearance:

See the Weedy Blackberry and Rose key.
Climbing Roses.


Auld, B.A. and Medd R.W. (1992). Weeds. An illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P217-218. Photos.

Barker, Robyn and Barker, Bill (2005). Blackberry. An identification tool to introduced and native Rubus in Australia. Edition 1.00. State Herbarium of South Australia.

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P396. Diagram.

Burbidge, N.T. and Gray, M. (1970). Flora of the Australian Capital Territory. (Australian National University Press, Canberra). P192, 194. Diagram.

Harden, Gwen J. (1991). Flora of NSW. (Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney). Volume 1. P532. Diagram.

Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #868.15.


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