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Blackberry biological control

Dense, impenetrable infestation of European blackberry

European blackberry (Rubus fruticosus aggregate) refers to a group of several closely-related species. Interspecific hybridisation and high phenotypic plasticity are thought to contribute to the taxonomic complexity of European blackberry in Australia.

This perennial, woody and thorny shrub is a Weed of National Significance that affects agriculture, forestry and natural ecosystems. It occupies nearly 9 million ha, mainly in temperate Australia where annual rainfall exceeds 700 mm.

Research to develop biological control tools for European blackberry was initiated in the 1970s and have continued on and off since then.

CSIRO’s current project is a partnership with Meat & Livestock Australia, Murray Local Land Services, Murdoch University and Agriculture Victoria. It is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit Programme.