Brambles are thorny plants of the genus Rubus, with about 250 species. There are 17 species recorded from southern Africa, some indigenous and others naturalised. The Bramble fruit include the blackberry and rasberry.
Bramble bushes have a distinctive growth form. They send up long, arching canes that do not flower or set fruit until the second year of growth. Many types of brambles bear edible fruit, and many have recurved thorns that dig into clothing and flesh when the victim tries to pull away from them. Some types also have hair-like thorns.
Species are pioneers of open and disturbed habitats. Berries are eaten by birds which enables seeds to be dispersed widely. Plants are able to spread vegetatively by sending out sucker shoots, and rooting where branches (canes) contact the ground. Thorns along the branches make movement through these bushes very difficult. With these sorts of properties it is no wonder that some Rubus species have become weeds. They are a big problem in many areas now. It is the opinion of many that Brambles will become a threat of major proportions if we do not take the control thereof very seriously.
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