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Evergreen blackberry identification and control: Rubus laciniatus

Evergreen blackberry identification and control

Rubus laciniatus, Rosaceae Family


Evergreen blackberry, also called cutleaf blackberry, is a thorny, thicket forming evergreen shrub in the Rose family that produces edible blackberry fruits. Leaves are deeply incised (they look lacy as if someone has cut them up) and divided into 3-5 leaflets with toothed edges. Flowers are in clusters of 5 to 20, each with 5 petals that are white to pink. The petals have 3 lobes at the tips. The stems are stout, ridged, arching canes with sharp, stiff, curved prickles. The plant can grow 13 feet tall with stems 30 feet long. It has large, deep, woody root balls that sprout at nodes and the canes root at the tips, creating daughter plants. It closely resembles the more widespread invasive blackberry species Himalayan blackberry (Rubus bifrons or Rubus armeniacus), except for the cut-leaf shape.

Evergreen blackberry is a European species introduced for fruit production that is highly invasive and difficult to control. It forms impenetrable thickets, outcompetes native vegetation and can prevent the establishment of trees. Due to the deep roots, digging up large established plants is difficult and may need to be repeated if not all the roots are removed. Repeated cutting can keep the plants from overtaking over vegetation. Contact the noxious weed program for advice on control methods.

Legal status in King County, Washington

It is a Class C noxious weed that is not selected for required control in King County. Control is recommended but not required because it is widespread in King County. For more information on noxious weed regulations and definitions, see Noxious weed lists and laws.


Blackberry control with brush cutterEvergreen blackberry can be controlled by digging, mowing, herbicide, plowing, and/or livestock grazing (especially goats). Removal of top growth by mowing, cutting or grazing with goats will eventually kill blackberry if done regularly and over several years. Cutting followed by digging up root crowns is much more effective than cutting alone. Blackberry can be controlled with herbicides, but product labels should be followed carefully - different products need to be used at different times and may pose different risks to the user and the environment.

Make sure to have a long-term plan to ensure success, protect native and beneficial species while doing the control, and start in the least infested areas first and then move into the more heavily infested areas. 

Consider replanting the area with native plants well-suited to our local climate and soil conditions that will also provide benefits to our local ecosystems.  See King County's northwest native plant guide for suggestions.

Additional information on evergreen blackberry (and Himalayan blackberry)

What to do if you find this plant in King County, Washington

Because evergreen blackberry is so widespread, property owners are not required to control it and we are not generally tracking infestations.  We can provide advice on how to control evergreen blackberry, but there is generally no requirement to do so, unless the city or homeowners association requires it.

Evergreen blackberry photos

Evergreen blackberry patch
Evergreen blackberry closeup
Evergreen blackberry cane
Evergreen blackberry leaf
Evergreen blackberry leaves

Additional Resources

Related information

Related agencies

Program offices are located at 201 S. Jackson St., Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98104. To contact staff, see the Noxious Weed Control Program Directory, send an email, or call 206-477-WEED (206-477-9333).