Know your alien invasive plant: American Bramble

An American Bramble or Rubus cuneifolius has white flowers which appear from September to January. PHOTO:

THIS week, Hillcrest Conservancy, takes a look at the American Bramble, as part of its series of articles on alien invasive plants, to help the community to identify and eradicate them from their gardens.

The American Bramble’s scientific name is Rubus cuneifolius but it is also known as Blackberry Gozard’s curse, Braambos (Afrikaans) and ijingijoye (isiZulu).

Description: It is a very thorny sprawling shrub growing up to two metres. Leaves are finely serrated sometimes densely hairy underneath. White flowers appear from September to January. The very tasty fruit starts off red becoming black when ripe.

Where does the species come from? Originally from North America. It was probably introduced either by accident in horse fodder for British troops horses during the Anglo Boer war or as a fruit source by early settlers.

What is its invasive status in South Africa? This is a Category 1b alien invasive plant.


Blackberries from an American Bramble. PHOTO: treasurecoast

Blackberries from an American Bramble. PHOTO: treasurecoast


Where in South Africa is it a problem? It is more common in the midlands of Natal where it grows in thick stands which are impenetrable to cattle and game making a large area unavailable for grazing. Recently becoming more noticeable in the coastal areas.

Why is it a problem? Due to the thorny nature of this plant it is difficult to remove and also alters large areas of land as it is so impenetrable.

How does it spread? Through seeds dispersal.

Does the plant have any uses? Edible fruits.

Contact Ian Pattrick on 079 909 5458 or Hillcrest Conservancy chairman, George Victor, on 073 901 3902 or e-mail [email protected]



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Ian Pattrick, Hillcrest Conservancy

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