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   Rubus moluccanus (vine, climber, shrub)  français     
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    Taxonomic name: Rubus moluccanus Linnaeus
    Synonyms: Rubus capricorni, Rubus hillii, Rubus moluccanus var. dendrocharis
    Common names:
    Organism type: vine, climber, shrub
    Rubus moluccanus is a member of the raspberry and blackberry family and has a wide distribution throughout South-East Asia and the Pacific. Its berries, fruit and leaves are able to be used for a variety of culinary purposes and medicinal purposes. It can spread via runners that sprout when they touch the ground and its seeds are dispersed by birds. This scrambling shrub or climber reaches 2 to 3m high and threatens native plants through overcrowding and competition and its prickly stems may pose a hazard to humans and livestock.
    Description
    Rubus moluccanus is a scrambling shrub or climber reaching 2 to 3m high. The stems and leaves are armed with medium sized spines (PIER, 2002). The leaves are large and lobed, glabrous or sparsely hairy above, densely white or rusty hairy below (Stanley and Ross, 1983 in PIER, 2002). The flowers are white and borne in clusters. The berries are red and about 1cm across (PIER, 2002). There are five taxonomic varieties, two of which are outlined below.
    R. Moluccanus var. moluccanus: leaves are shallowly lobed, has erect brown-yellow hairs on leaf stalks and branchlets, white petals.
    R.moluccanus var.trilobus: distinct 3-lobed leaf, appressed greyish hairs on leaf stalks and branchlets, mostly pink petals (Bean, 2001).
    Occurs in:
    natural forests, planted forests, ruderal/disturbed, wetlands
    Habitat description
    Favours wet lowland areas (PIER, 2002). Occurs in rainforest edges in Australia (Notman, 2000). Grows to 2100m. elevation in the Himalayas (Chopra et. al. 1986 in Plants for a Future, 2002).
    General impacts
    No specific information is available for this species, but as it is closely related to R. rosifolius, its impacts may be similar, namely:
    Threatens native plants through overcrowding and competition. The prickly stems may pose a hazard to humans and livestock (Mallinson, 1998).
    Uses
    Leaves are abortifacient, astringent and emmenagogue. Fruit can be used as a remedy for bed-wetting in children (Chopra et al. 1983 in Plants for a Future, 2002). A purple-blue dye can also be made from the fruit (Grae, 1974 in Plants for a Future, 2002). Aboriginal people in Australia utilise the berries, which can be made into jams, jellies and pies. Tea brewed from the leaves can be used to treat diarrhea (Notman, 2000).
    Notes
    A serious pest on the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean (PIER, 2002). On U.S. Federal noxious weed list, as well as being classed as noxious in Florida and South Carolina (Plants Database, 2002).
    Plants in the Rubus genus are known to be susceptible to honey fungus (Huxley, 1992 in Plants for a Future, 2002).
    Geographical range
    Native range: Himalayas through Malaysia to Australia, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Fiji.
    Known introduced range: many Pacific islands, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mauritius, La Réunion
    Local dispersal methods
    Consumption/excretion: Seeds are bird-dispersed (PIER, 2002).
    Natural dispersal (local): Can spread via runners that sprout when they touch the ground (Mallinson, 1998).
    Management information
    No specific management information was found for R. moluccanus, but techniques used for the control of blackberry (Rubus fruticosus agg.), which is a related species, may be applicable. These are outlined below.

    Mechanical control: Tractor and rotary slasher, hand cutting.

    Chemical: There are a range of herbicides that can be used for the control of blackberry, including those that are glyphosate-based, such as Roundup®. These are usually applied by spraying, using a knapsack or mistblower for smaller infestations, or handgun and hose for larger ones (Mallinson, 1998).

    Biological: Maintenance of soil fertility and pasture may reduce infestations. Goats (Capra hircus) are able to control infestations through grazing. Care must be taken with this approach however, as goats are a known invasive species as well.

    Nutrition
    Needs a good deal of sunlight for best flowering and fruiting, although can tolerate semi-shade. Has a high water requirement and does not tolerate poorly drained soil (Plants for a Future, 2002).
    Reproduction
    Flowers are insect-pollinated. Fruits are dispersed by birds (PIER, 2002). Roots can grow from the point at which a branch touches the ground (Mallinson, 1998).
    Compiled by: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
    Last Modified: Friday, 30 December 2005


ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland