Mystery Plant # 6
Rubus ulmifolius Schott. (Rosaceae)

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Mystery plant #6

leaves, dorsal/abaxial

Mystery plant #6 submitted by: Chris Buddenhagen

14NOV2001: We found one patch of this plant on one farm in the agricultural zone of Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador at 400-500m masl. [I am sorry to say that we have not found any flowers or fruit on this plant for the last 6 months (but this is good from a management point of view).] It was first tentatively identified as Rubus megaloccocus, which is subject to an eradication campaign already. Short scrambling semi erect shrub to about 1 m. Stems: are ridged slightly on the primocane, but more or less round to oval, and round/oval on other stems (but not obviously ridged). Minute hairs do not stick up from the stem but sort of lay along the stem and are not obvious even with a hand lens, and give the stems a sort of waxy appearence. Stems are prickly, and prickles 3-5mm are generally larger on the primocane, flat in one plane (deltoid?) with straight to recurved tips, with a general tendency for more curved prickles nearer the leaves. Lvs are arranged on a 35-55mm petiole, are 5 foliate palmate on the primocane and generally 3 foliate elsewhere, with the middle leaflet being larger and the other basal pair being smaller (and sometimes the basal pair appears to be irregular, and is made up of two coalescing leaflets, the leaves are dark green on top and white below, but not particulary hairy, prickles can be found on the midrib of the leaflets and are recurved. Leaflets are 3-4.5 cm x 5-6 cm and irregularly serrate and more or less ovate. Young leaves (see primocane photos) are more lanceolate. [See additional notes in "ID notes..." section.]

New info 15NOV2001: More news on our Rubus sp.: We found more patches of this plant- it looks like there are at least three sites now. Rats. Still no evidence of fls. Lvs have stipules- finely hairy with hairs some small fraction of a mm. Hairs not visible to the eye. Stipules lanceolate 6-10mm long. Lvs in shade don't have the white undersides, and our other samples the stems appear to me much more angled, having 5 sides. P.S.: the only thing keeping us from calling it R. ellipticus is the 5 leaflets on the primocane, and it is apparently less hairy.

Feedback from viewers:

"Plant #6 was Rubus ulmifolius Schott." (e-mail from Chris Buddenhagen [] 29JUL2004)

Rubus sp.; I have looked at the flora of Ecuador and have not found any plant that fits this plant to my satisfaction I think (hope) I have ruled out the following adequately (sorry if I make an error in spelling here): R. acanthophyllus; R. adenothallus; R. adenotrichus*; R. azuayensis; R. bogotensis; R. boliviensis; R. compactus; R. corraceus; R. ellipticus (got us interested for a bit, but no 5 foliate primocanes apparently among other characters); R. floribundus; R. glabratus; R. glaucus*; R. killipii; R. laegaardii; R. loxensis; R. megaloccocus*; R. niveus*; R. nubigenus; R. peruvianus; R. roseus; R. urticifolius. (*introduced to Galapagos; the others are found in mainland Ecuador and we sincerely hope we don't discover more species here in Galapagos) -Chris Buddenhagen, 14 November 2001

One respondent said: "Looks to me like Rubus procerus! AKA Himalayan blackberry. Originally a weed from Armenia. Belongs in the Rosaceae family. DEFINITELY INVASIVE!!! I live in Southern BC (Canada), and it is everywhere as it propegates by seed or layering. We're trying to figure out how to get rid of it or at least slow it down up here, so if you figure it out, please let me know!!!" (ref.: e-mail "ID for Mystery Plant 6" 20040405)

If you have further information about this plant--especially identification confirmation or knowledge/examples of its invasive potential--please e-mail !


More images of mystery plant #6

Mystery plant #6

Mystery plant #6

Mystery plant #6

Mystery plant #6

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