Invasive Alien Species in Northern Ireland

Rubus spectabilis, Salmonberry

Rubus spectabilis
© Paul Hackney
Rubus spectabilis
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Rubus spectabilis Pursh.
Rubus spectabilis is a deciduous shrub from western North America, introduced by David Douglas in 1827. As well as having been planted as an ornamental in gardens and estates, it was also at one time planted experimentally as game covert. In all three types of locations it has become naturalised, producing dense thickets which in woodland prevent the regeneration of native trees.
Shrub with upright stems up to 2m tall:
stems - hairless, but with fine prickles;
leaves - 10-15cm long, composed of three doubly-toothed oval leaflets with long tapering tips, up to 10cm, mostly hairless on both upper and lower surfaces, the terminal leaflet the broadest and largest;
flowers - borne in spring, either singly or a few together, produced on short shoots on the older wood, 2-3.5cm dia, pink to purplish-red, scented, sepals downy, with broad pointed lobes shorter than the petals;
fruit - large, raspberry-like, egg-shaped, orange-yellow, of no great edibility.
Country of origin
North America, western areas.
Location in Ireland
Naturalised in many areas such as country parks, river banks, demesnes, forestry plantations etc.
Life cycle
Flowers in early spring, fruiting in late summer, although fruiting poorly here; spreading vegetatively by suckers.
Wildlife and habitat impacts
As it forms dense thickets, it will locally inhibit the regeneration of companion plant species, such as native trees in woodland. It is not known to have any immediate adverse effect on animal life. The disappearance of other species in its immediate area which were host species for insects etc. will, however, have an obvious effect on animal life.
Human impacts
None known.
Key vectors
This plant spreads rapidly by vigorous suckering from the base. It is likely that it could also be spread by careless disposal of garden waste.
What you can do as an individual
The plant should not be further introduced to the wild by planting it or carelessly disposing of garden waste.
Further information
A report in the Western Journal of Applied Forestry ‘The Effect of Hexazinone etc on the Germination success of selected Ceanothus and Rubus species’ details research on the use of several herbicides on the control of invasive seed-plants in forestry plantations. (see Link) - The effect of hexazinone, sulfometuron, metsulfuron, and atrazine on the germinations success of selected Ceanothus and Rubus species
Text written by:
Catherine Tyrie, Curator, Botany, Ulster Museum