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SPECIES:  Rubus laciniatus
Cutleaf blackberry. Image by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,


SPECIES: Rubus laciniatus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION: Tirmenstein, D. 1989. Rubus laciniatus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. Revisions: On 21 August 2018, the common name of this species was changed in FEIS from: evergreen blackberry to: cutleaf blackberry. Images were also added.
ABBREVIATION: RUBLAC SYNONYMS: Rubus vulgaris NRCS PLANT CODE: RULA COMMON NAMES: cutleaf blackberry evergreen blackberry slashed blackberry TAXONOMY: The scientific name of cutleaf blackberry is Rubus laciniatus Willd. (Rosaceae) [23]. Infrataxa have not been described, although a number of commercially grown cultivars have been derived from this species. Cutleaf blackberry hybridizes with R. inermis [7]. LIFE FORM: Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS: No special status OTHER STATUS: NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Rubus laciniatus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: The cutleaf blackberry is a native of Eurasia [4] which has become widely naturalized in North America. It now occurs through much of the Northwest, from British Columbia to northern California west of the Cascades and eastward to Idaho [19,20]. Cutleaf blackberry also grows throughout much of New England, extending westward to Michigan and southward to the Middle Atlantic States [4,33,36]. It is locally established in parts of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado [8,9,10]. It is cultivated in Hawaii [43].
Distribution of cutleaf blackberry. Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC [2018, August 21] [40].

   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce
   FRES25  Larch
   FRES28  Western hardwoods

     CA  CO  CT  DE  HI  ID  IN  MD  MA  MI
     MT  NJ  NY  NC  OH  OR  PA  RI  SC  VT
     VA  WV  WY  BC  ON

    1  Northern Pacific Border
    3  Southern Pacific Border
    5  Columbia Plateau
    8  Northern Rocky Mountains

   K001  Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest
   K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest
   K012  Douglas-fir forest
   K014  Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest
   K025  Alder - ash forest
   K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
   K095  Great Lakes pine forest
   K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest

    21  Eastern white pine
    30  Red spruce - yellow birch
    31  Red spruce - sugar maple - beech
    60  Beech - sugar maple
    64  Sassafras - persimmon
    78  Virginia pine - oak
    79  Virginia pine
    80  Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
    81  Loblolly pine
    82  Loblolly pine - hardwood
   109  Hawthorn
   210  Interior Douglas-fir
   213  Grand fir
   221  Red alder
   224  Western hemlock
   227  Western redcedar - western hemlock
   228  Western redcedar
   229  Pacific Douglas-fir
   230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock

Cutleaf blackberry grows across a wide range of plant communities.  It
commonly occurs in oldfield communities of the Northeast and Middle
Atlantic States.  In the Pacific Northwest, this shrub grows in
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)-western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)
and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis)-western hemlock forests [1,24].  In
many coniferous forests, it is particularly abundant on heavily thinned
or disturbed sites [24].  Cutleaf blackberry grows in red alder
((Alnus rubra) communities of western Oregon [17] and in riparian
forests of the Central Valley and central coast of California with such
species as trailing blackberry (Rubus ursinus) and Himalayan blackberry
(R. discolor) [35].

Common associated understory species include thimbleberry (R.
parviflorus), salmonberry (R. spectabilis), huckleberry (Vaccinium
spp.), deerfern (Blechnum spicant), Oregon oxalis (Oxalis oregana), and
false lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum dilatatum) [1].


SPECIES: Rubus laciniatus
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE: Wildlife: The cutleaf blackberry provides food and cover for many wildlife species. Blackberries are eaten by numerous birds, including the ring-necked pheasant, northern bobwhite, gray catbird, northern cardinal, yellow-breasted chat, pine grosbeak, American robin, orchard oriole, summer tanager, brown thrasher, thrushes, towhees, ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, California quail, gray (Hungarian) partridge, and band-tailed pigeon. Mammals, such as the coyote, skunks, common opossum, gray fox, red fox, raccoon, squirrels, chipmunks and black bear, consume the fruit of blackberries [6,42]. Deer, rabbits, and mountain beaver occasionally browse the foliage of blackberries [6]. In many locations, porcupine and beaver feed on the leaves, buds, cambium, and stems [42]. In parts of California, elk may consume small amounts of cutleaf blackberry browse, particularly in winter [16]. Livestock: Blackberries generally provide only minimal browse for domestic livestock [42]. Cutleaf blackberry is moderately grazed by domestic sheep but is seldom used by cattle [20]. PALATABILITY: Fruits of blackberries are highly palatable to many birds and mammals. Palatability of cutleaf blackberry browse has not been documented. NUTRITIONAL VALUE: NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE: Cutleaf blackberry provides important cover for a variety of wildlife species. Dense thickets form good nesting habitat for many small birds [6]. Mammals, such as rabbits, the red squirrel, black bear, and beaver, utilize blackberry thickets for hiding or resting cover [42]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES: Many species of blackberry are valuable in preventing soil erosion on barren, infertile, disturbed sites [4,42]. Plants may be propagated vegetatively, transplanted, or seeded onto disturbed sites. Brinkman [4] observed that scarified seed can be successfully planted in the late summer or early fall. Cold treatment is not required for seeds planted in the fall, although seed planted in the spring should be stratified and scarified. Good results have been obtained after seeds were planted with a drill and covered with 1/8 to 3/16 inch (0.3-0.5 cm) of soil [4]. OTHER USES AND VALUES: Fruits of the cutleaf blackberry are sweet and edible. A number of commercially grown thornless cultivars have been developed, including `Austin Thornless,' `Thornless Evergreen,' `Thornless,' `Black Satin,' `Dirksen Thornless,' `Georgia Thornless,' `Darrow,' `Thornfree,' and `Smoothstem' [15,22]. The cutleaf blackberry, a common garden species, was first cultivated in 1770 [4]. The fruit, roots, and stems have been used to make various medicinal preparations [4]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Competition: The cutleaf blackberry commonly occurs on disturbed sites and has been observed in heavily thinned plots in spruce (Picea spp.)-hemlock (Tsuga spp.) forests of the central Oregon coast [1]. It reportedly spreads quickly following timber harvesting in Douglas-fir forests of the Northwest [20]. In some areas, this vigorous invader may compete with native vegetation on seriously disturbed sites. Chemical control: A number of herbicides can be used to control cutleaf blackberry. Glyphosate, picloram + 2,4-D, and triclopyr amine have proven particularly effective [5]. Propagation: Detailed information is available on various methods of commercial blackberry propagation [6]. Some herbicides appear to be effective in reducing competing weeds, while leaving cutleaf blackberry unharmed [3,5].


SPECIES: Rubus laciniatus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Cutleaf blackberry is a semierect to erect and arching, much-branched shrub which grows up to 10 feet (3 m) in height [30,33]. These shrubs often grow in a dense cluster [32]. Stems often trail at the ends and are covered with numerous stout, curved thorns [32,33]. The stems of blackberries are generally biennial. Sterile first-year stems, known as primocanes, develop from buds at or below the ground surface and produce only leaves. Lateral branches, or floricanes, develop in the axils of the primocanes during the second year and bear both leaves and flowers [14]. Cutleaf leaves have five leaflets and are palmately or, less commonly, pinnately compound [33]. Leaves are green on both surfaces, but hairy beneath. Leaflets are lacinate to dissected [18]. Perfect white-to-pink or rose flowers are borne in compound paniculate cymes [32,33]. Fruit of the cutleaf blackberry is large, round, and shiny black in color [30,32]. Fruit grows up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) in length and is made up of a few large, sweet, succulent drupelets [4,30,32]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM: Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES: Cutleaf blackberry regenerates both sexually and through vegetative means. Reproductive versatility is well represented in the Rubus genus, with sexual reproduction, parthenogenesis (development of the egg without fertilization), pseudogamy (a form of apomixis in which pollination is required), and parthenocarpy (production of fruit without fertilization) occurring widely. The following types of reproduction have been documented in blackberries: (1) sexual reproduction, (2) nonreduction at meiosis on the female, male, or both sides, (3) apomixis with segregation, (4) apomixis without segregation, and (5) haploid parthenogenesis [7]. These modes of asexual reproduction help contribute to the vigorous, aggressive spread of blackberries. Vegetative regeneration: The mostly biennial stems of blackberries typically develop from perennial rootstocks or creeping stems located aboveground. Most species within the Rubus genus are capable of vigorous sprouting from root or stem suckers and rooting stem tips [14]. Cutleaf blackberry produces numerous adventitious root suckers, even in the absence of disturbance [15]. These root suckers are presumably capable of producing new primocanes as the connection to the parent plant is eliminated. Cutleaf blackberry also spreads rapidly as aboveground vegetation roots at the nodes [20]. Cutleaf blackberry typically sprouts vigorously following disturbance. Seed: Most blackberries produce good seed crops nearly every year [4]. During the first year of development, blackberries grow from perennial rootstocks or creeping stems and produce sterile vegetative shoots known as primocanes. Lateral branches (floricanes) develop in the axils during the second year which produce both leaves and flowers [14]. Immature fruit of the cutleaf blackberry is a dull red [4]. Ripe berries are shiny black, and made up of relatively few large drupelets [4,31,32]. Cleaned cutleaf blackberry seed averages approximately 137,000 per pound (301,762/kg) [4]. Apomixis is particularly common in the cutleaf blackberry [15]. Germination: Blackberry seeds have a hard impermeable coat and dormant embryo [2,14]; consequently, germination is often slow. Most blackberries require, as a minimum, warm stratification at 68 to 86 degrees F (20 to 30 degrees C) for 90 days, followed by cold stratification at 36 to 41 degrees F (2 to 5 degrees C) for an additional 90 days [2]. These conditions are frequently encountered naturally, as seeds mature in summer and remain in the soil throughout the cold winter months. Scarification also appears to improve germination. Laboratory tests indicate that exposure to sulfuric acid solutions or sodium hyperchlorite prior to cold stratification can enhance germination [2]. Evidence suggests that avian digestive processes can also help scarify the seed of blackberries [14]. Results of specific germination tests of blackberry seed are as follows [14]: seed pregerm. last germ. real amount potential fed to: treatment of seed of germ. germ. (%) (in days) (in # of (%) (% seeds still days) alive at end of test) waxwing none -- 0 50 waxwing warm 90 + cold 90 -- 0 51 Am. robin none -- 0 66 Am. robin warm 90 + cold 90 41 17 60 n. catbird none -- 0 59 n. catbird warm 90 + cold 90 49 21 72 control none -- 0 81 control warm 90 + cold 90 27 3 81 Researchers observed that although some seed was mechanically damaged while being ingested, intact seeds typically exhibited improved germination [14]. These test findings emphasized the importance of prior cold stratification for best blackberry germination. Seedbanking: Blackberry seed is typically long-lived when buried in the soil or duff [2,15]. Researchers have located viable buried seed of the cutleaf blackberry at depths of 0 to 2 inches (0-5 cm) in coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forests of British Columbia [12]. Seed dispersal: Seed of cutleaf blackberry is primarily animal dispersed [1]. After they mature, the highly sought-after fruits rarely remain on the plants for long [2]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Cutleaf blackberry grows in a wide range of sites throughout much of North America. It is most commonly naturalized on waste ground or disturbed areas [1033]. Cutleaf blackberry has escaped from cultivated gardens in many areas [4]. Soils: Blackberries grow well on a variety of barren, infertile soils [4]. These shrubs tolerate a wide range of soil texture and pH but require adequate soil moisture for good growth [6]. Elevation: Cutleaf blackberry grows from sea level along the Pacific Coast to higher elevations farther inland. Cutleaf blackberry has been reported at 5,600 feet (1,707 m) in Colorado [8]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS: Cutleaf blackberry is primarily regarded as an early seral species. It has been reported on initially disturbed and early immature stands in coniferous forests of southwestern British Columbia [25]. Cutleaf blackberry is also abundant in old field communities and on disturbed sites in the Northeast. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Seasonal development of the cutleaf blackberry varies according to geographic location and climatic factors. Specific phenological development has been documented as follows [4,30,33]: location flowering fruit ripening seed dispersal California May-July -- -- Carolinas May-June June-July -- Northeast June-August July-October September-October Pacific Coast June-August August-September October-November


SPECIES: Rubus laciniatus
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS: Cutleaf blackberry is frequently observed on recently burned sites [1,39]. Most species of blackberry sprout prolifically from rootstocks, roots, or rhizomes, even when aboveground foliage is totally consumed by fire. Cutleaf blackberry can root from the nodes of aboveground stems [20], and rapid spread is likely where portions of the stem remain undamaged. Cutleaf blackberry is described as a seedbanking species which can readily reoccupy disturbed sites through seed stored on-site [24]. Seed can apparently remain viable for long periods of time when stored in the soil or duff [4] and germinate in large numbers after fire. The large, sweet, succulent fruit of blackberries amply "reward" animal dispersers [21], and postfire establishment of some cutleaf blackberry seed from off-site is probable [1]. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY: Tall shrub, adventitious-bud root crown Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil Geophyte, growing points deep in soil Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community) Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Rubus laciniatus
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT: Although cutleaf blackberry plants may be top-killed, actual mortality appears to be uncommon due to the prolific sprouting ability of this shrub. Most cutleaf blackberry seeds stored on-site in the soil or duff are probably unharmed by fire. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE: Vegetative regeneration: Most blackberries readily regenerate from roots, rhizomes, or rootstocks when aboveground foliage is consumed by fire [12,14]. Roots are generally well protected from the direct effects of heat by overlying layers of soil. The cutleaf blackberry is known to produce adventitious root suckers [15] and presumably sprouts when aboveground vegetation is totally consumed by fire. This shrub is capable of regenerating by means of horizontal aboveground stems, which root at the nodes in soil or duff [20], even in the absence of disturbance. Rapid spread is probable where portions of the aboveground stem remain undamaged by fire. Postfire recovery: The cutleaf blackberry quickly assumes prominence on many types of burned or disturbed sites [38] and is often well represented on waste ground [33]. Its role as a vigorous invader suggests the potential for rapid postfire recovery in many areas. Seedling establishment: Seedbanking may be an important regenerative strategy in the cutleaf blackberry [24]. Some seed may also be transported from off-site by birds or mammals [4]. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Wildlife: Species which consume large amounts of blackberries are often benefited by fire [26]. Competition: Many blackberries are favored by fire and can aggressively compete with conifer seedlings in some postfire communities.


SPECIES: Rubus laciniatus
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