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   Rubus rosifolius (tree, shrub)  français     
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      Rubus rosifolius flower and fruit (Photo: Forest & Kim Starr (USGS)) - Click for full size   Rubus rosifolius flower (Photo: Forest & Kim Starr (USGS)) - Click for full size   Rubus rosifolius flower and immature fruit (Photo: Forest & Kim Starr (USGS)) - Click for full size
    Taxonomic name: Rubus rosifolius Sm
    Synonyms: Rubus commersonnii Poir., Rubus coronarius, Rubus eustephanos var. coronarius, Rubus rosaefolius Smith, Rubus rosifolius Smith var. coronarius Sims, Rubus rosifolius var. commersonii, Rubus rosifolius var. rosifolius
    Common names: akala (Hawai'i), akalakala (Hawai'i), forest bramble (English), framboisier (French), frambueso de Africa (Spanish), Mauritius raspberry (English), native bramble (English-Australia), native raspberry (English-Australia), ola'a (Hawaii), roseleaf raspberry (English), thimbleberry (English)
    Organism type: tree, shrub
    Rubus rosifolius is a prickly shrub that produces edible red berries. It is valued for a number of culinary and medicinal purposes. This species has become invasive in Hawai‘i and French Polynesia, where it is capable of intruding into the understory of rainforests. Prickly stems and an ability to form dense thickets make R. rosifolius undesirable in many areas.
    Description
    Rubus rosifolius is a pinnate leaved species. Erect to trailing shrub up to 2m or more in height. Stems are sparsely covered with prickles 1-4mm long. Leaves are alternate and pinnately compound, 7-18cm long, with 3-7 leaflets. Inflorescence mostly of solitary, terminal or axillary flowers. Calyx of 5 lanceolate sepals 1.4 - 2.5cm long, tomentose. Corolla of 5 white, obovate petals 1 - 2cm long. Stamens many, free. Ovaries many. Fruit a subglobose, red, multiple fruit 2 - 3.5cm long, easily detaching from the receptacle. The red fruits are somewhat conical in shape, longer than they are wide.

    There are two varieties of R. rosifolius that differ only in the number of petals. Rubus rosifolius var. commersonii has 9-13 petals, while Rubus rosifolius var. rosifolius has five (Bean, 2001).
    Occurs in:
    natural forests, ruderal/disturbed, scrub/shrublands
    Habitat description
    Occurs naturally in forest margins, clearings and gullies. Invades understory of moist forests. Grows to over 2000m elevation in Tahiti, and to 1730m in Hawai'i (PIER, 2002). Prefers light soil that is moist and nutrient-rich. In Australia where it is native it is found in rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest from Tasmania to Qld
    General impacts
    Threatens many native plants on the Hawai‘ian Islands through overcrowding and competition (US EPA, 2002). Is able to form dense thickets when adequate sunlight is available. Can climb using hooks on the stems and prickles on the leaves (BRAIN, 2002).
    Uses
    Fruit is edible and sweet-tasting. Can be made into jams, pies and preserves. Leaves can be made into tea, which can be helpful for painful menstruation, childbirth, flu, and morning sickness. Aboriginal people in Australia used a decoction of the leaves as a traditional treatment for diarrhea (Notman, 2000). The fruit is a mild laxative if eaten in large quantities.
    Can be used for regeneration of disturbed sites within its native range in Australia (Greening Australia NSW, 2003). Seen as a good native species to use for the replacement of invasive blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) in Australia.
    Used as an ornamental plant (NCCPG, 2001).
    Notes
    Rubus rosifolius is susceptible to strawberry mild yellow edge-associated potexvirus it is transmitted by a vector; an insect; Chaetosiphon fragaraefolii belonging to family Aphididae. It is transmitted in a non-persistent manner. The virus possibly requires, for vector transmission, a helper virus (strawberry mild yellow edge luteovirus); transmitted by mechanical inoculation and by grafting (Brunt et al., 1996).
    Geographical range
    Native range: Asia, Australia, China, Taiwan.
    Known introduced range: New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Indonesia, Malaysia, La Réunion, Mauritius, Rapa, Hawai‘i, French Polynesia.
    Introduction pathways to new locations
    For ornamental purposes: In some countries it is grown for its flowers (NCCPG, 2001).


    Local dispersal methods
    Consumption/excretion: Seeds are dispersed by birds and rodents that eat the fruit (PIER, 2002).
    For ornamental purposes (local): In some countries it is grown for its flowers (NCCPG, 2001).
    Management information
    There is no specific management information for Rubus rosifolius, but techniques used for the control of blackberry Rubus fruticosus agg which is a related species, may be applicable. These are outlined below.

    Preventative measures: Maintenance of soil fertility and pasture may reduce infestations.

    Physical: 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 (EBOP, 2002).

    Biological: 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.

    Reproduction
    Seeds spread by birds and rodents that have ingested fruit (PIER, 2002). Can also spread via suckers that develop from arching canes (MPAS, 2002).
    Lifecycle stages
    Seeds have germination successs of about 90% after 12 weeks (Greening Australia NSW, 2003).
    Reviewed by: Robyn Barker, Honorary Research Associate Plant Biodiversity Centre Dept for Environment & Heritage. Australia.
    Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group
    Updates with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
    Last Modified: Monday, 4 October 2010


ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland