White blackberry (Rubus niveus)

Also known as: Mysore raspberry

White blackberry is a prickly scrambling shrub with dark coloured berries and white stems. It forms thickets that can prevent other plants from growing.


How does this weed affect you?

White blackberry is fast-growing and very invasive. It:

  • forms dense thickets
  • smothers and kills other plants
  • invades forests and other natural areas
  • can injure people and animals
  • makes movement difficult for people and animals
  • reduces agricultural production.

What does it look like?

White blackberry is a perennial shrub with arching stems that climb to 2 m tall. Stems become tangled and can form prickly thickets. It usually flowers in spring and summer.


The leaves are made up of 5-9 (sometimes 11) smaller leaflets. The leaflets are in opposite pairs with one bigger leaflet on the end. Leaflets are:

  • dark green on top
  • white to pale green and with fine hairs underneath
  • 25-80 mm long and 10-50 mm wide
  • prominently veined
  • serrated along the edges.

Flowers are:

  • 12.5 mm wide with 5 petals 4-5 mm long
  • red or bright pink
  • in clusters at the end of stems.

Fruit are:

  • berries
  • 10-20 mm wide
  • round to oblong
  • covered in short white hairs
  • firstly green, then ripen to purply-black.

Seeds are:

  • 1.0-1.5 mm wide
  • numerous, usually about 180 per berry
  • covered in a hard coat.

Stems are:

  • flexible growing to 2 m long
  • climbing or arching
  • covered in a whitish, powdery coating 
  • covered in sharp prickles 3-7 mm long
  • usually round.

There are two types of stems (also called canes):

  • in the first year primocanes grow straight out of the root crown
  • floricanes usually branch from the primocane and they produce the flowers and fruit in the spring of the second year of growth.

Primocanes usually die back in the second year, after they have grown floricanes. 


The root system has:

  • a woody ‘crown’
  • a main root that can grow down to 2 m
  • smaller roots that grow horizontally out from the crown.

Where is it found?

White blackberry is present on the North Coast of NSW. It has been found from Karangi to Coffs Harbour and around Mullumbimby.

It is also a weed in Queensland, Africa, Central America, the Caribbean and South America. It was first introduced to Australia for the large amounts of fruit it produces.

It is native to India, China and Southeast Asia. 

What type of environment does it grow in?

Plants grow best in well drained soil but it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, soil types and rainfall. However, it is not drought tolerant. In very cold climates plants may die in winter, re-sprouting in spring. White blackberry grows:

  • in bushland and grasslands
  • along waterways
  • in gardens
  • along fence lines
  • in disturbed areas such as roadsides
  • on agricultural land.

Maps and records

  • Recorded presence of White blackberry during property inspections (Map: Biosecurity Information System - Weeds, 2017-2024)
    These records are made by authorised officers during property inspections under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Officers record the presence of priority weeds in their council area and provide this to the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Records reflect the presence of the weed on the date of inspection.

How does it spread?

By seeds

On average each berry produces 180 seeds. They can stay viable in the soil for up to 10 years. Seedlings are able to grow in shady situations. Birds and other animals eat the fruit and spread the seeds.

By plant parts

When primocanes touch the ground, they can send out roots and become new plants. These plants are called daughter plants. Plants can also grow from roots fragments.


Global Invasive Species Database (2021) Species profile: Rubus niveus. Retrieved 2018 from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1232 on 10-08-2021.

PARMAR, C., & KAUSHAL, M. (1982). Rubus niveus. In Wild Fruits (pp. 88–91). Kalyani Publishers, New Delhi, India.

PlantNET (The NSW Plant Information Network System). Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney. Retrieved 24 April 2020 from https://weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au/Weeds/WhiteBlackberry

Pollard, K. (2020) Invasive Species Compendium Datasheet: Rubus niveus (Mysore raspberry). CABI International Retrieved 30 April 2020 from: https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/107939

Rentería, J. L., Gardener, M. R., Panetta, F. D., Atkinson, R., & Crawley, M. J. (2012). Possible impacts of the invasive plant Rubus niveus on the native vegetation of the Scalesia forest in the Galapagos Islands. PLoS One7(10).

Renteria, J. L., Gardener, M. R., Panetta, F. D., & Crawley, M. J. (2012). Management of the invasive hill raspberry (Rubus niveus) on Santiago Island, Galapagos: eradication or indefinite control?. Invasive plant science and management5(1), 37-46.

St. Quinton, J. M., Fay, M. F., Ingrouille, M., & Faull, J. (2011). Characterisation of Rubus niveus: a prerequisite to its biological control in oceanic islands. Biocontrol science and technology21(6), 733-752.

More information

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White blackberry can be controlled by hand pulling, grazing and herbicides. Generally, no single control option used on its own will succeed. Best results will use a combination of methods. The key is to follow up any control work to make sure the plant has not regrown. This is particularly the case for larger infestations.


Goats have been used to manage blackberry infestations. Once the goats are removed follow-up monitoring and control will be needed. Goats can move seeds via their droppings. Holding goats in a paddock that can be easily inspected for weeds can help prevent moving weeds to a new area.

Physical removal

Hand pull or dig out seedlings and small plants. Be careful to avoid injuries from prickles. It is important to remove all of the roots to stop plants regrowing.


Use slashing to get access when infestations are very dense. It should be followed up with herbicide control. Slashing is expensive and will not kill the weed if it is the only method used.  Irregular slashing strengthens the root system, which then requires more herbicide to kill the plants. Slashing can stimulate new growth, which will make the infestation thicker.

Chemical control

Spot spraying and cut stump methods are effective. The best time to spray is when it is actively growing. The cut stump method is best when the plants are sparse and you can easily access the base of the plant without injuries from the thorns.

Herbicide options

Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L with Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Various products)
Rate: 2L of Glyphosate plus 15 g of Brush-off in 100 L of water
Comments: Spot spray application, plus add a wetter.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 9 (previously group M), Inhibition of 5-enolpyruvyl shikimate-3 phosphate synthase (EPSP inhibition)
Resistance risk: Moderate

Picloram 44.7 g/L + Aminopyralid 4.47 g/L (Vigilant II ®)
Rate: Undiluted
Comments: Cut stump application. Apply a 3-5 mm layer of gel for stems less than 20 mm. Apply a 5 mm layer on stems above 20 mm.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 4 (previously group I), Disruptors of plant cell growth (Auxin mimics)
Resistance risk: Moderate

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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All pest plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Greater Sydney Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Prevention)
Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Land managers should eradicate the plant from the land and keep the land free of the plant. A person should not deal with the plant, where dealings include but are not limited to buying, selling, growing, moving, carrying or releasing the plant. Notify local control authority if found.
Hunter Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Eradication)
Notify local control authority if found. Land managers should eradicate the plant from the land and keep the land free of the plant. A person should not deal with the plant, where dealings include but are not limited to buying, selling, growing, moving, carrying or releasing the plant.
North Coast
An exclusion zone is established for all land in the North Coast region, except the core infestation (containment) zone in the Coffs Harbour City LGA.
Regional Recommended Measure* (for Regional Priority - Containment)
Whole of region: Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. A person should not buy, sell, move, carry or release the plant into the environment. Exclusion zone: Notify local control authority if found. Land managers should eradicate the plant from the land and keep the land free of the plant. Core infestation: Land managers should mitigate spread of the plant from their land. Land managers should reduce the impact of the plant on assets of high economic, environmental and/or social value.
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfil the general biosecurity duty for this weed click here

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.

Reviewed 2023