Common Name: Wineberry, wine raspberry
Scientific name: Rubus phoenicolasius
Identification: Wineberry is a multi-stemmed shrub that produces arched, flexible, thorny canes that can be up to 9’ in length. Canes can form new roots where they arch and touch the ground. The canes and leaf stalks are covered in short (less than ⅛” long), fine, dense red hairs. Leaves are alternate and compound with three ovate leaflets per leaf. The end leaflet is largest – up to 4” long and wide – while the side leaflets are up to 3” long and narrower than they are long. All leaflets are toothed along the edges. Leaves are green on the top surface and white on the bottom surface. The flowers, which emerge in mid-summer, have five white heart-shaped petals surrounded by five longer hairy green sepals. The arrangement of sepals is distinctly star-shaped. The sepals persist and cover the fruit until it ripens in early fall. Ripe fruits are clusters of druplets ½” in diameter, shiny red with hollow centers and are similar in appearance to commercial raspberries.
Look-alikes: Wineberry is similar in appearance to other blackberries and raspberries (Rubus spp.), including some commercial crops and native species. The dense red hairs along the canes and leaf stalks differentiate wineberry from other species.
There are isolated reports of wineberry in all Great Lakes jurisdictions but Minnesota and Ontario. Nationally, it is most common in the mid-Atlantic region and southern New England.
Additional invasive species distribution data for specific Great Lakes jurisdictions is available via:
Seed is spread over long distances by birds and mammals, which eat the fruit.
Wineberry prefers disturbed habitats with rich, moist soils, but can occur in a number of habitat types, including forest edges, open woodlands, forest understories, wetlands, streamside areas, fields, and disturbed lands (Innes 2009). Vegetative reproduction, fruit production, and seedling establishment are limited to higher light environments such as treefall gaps, but plants persist in shade (Gorchov et al. 2011).
In optimal conditions, wineberry can form dense thickets that are impassible due to the thorniness of the canes. Although most species in the Rubus genus form thickets, wineberry thickets have been found to grow more densely than those of native Rubus species (Innes 2009). Wineberry out-can overtop native vegetation, blocking access to light.
Wineberry was originally brought to North America in the late 1800’s for use in breeding new commercial varieties of raspberry and blackberry (Innes 2009). Where not prohibited by regulation, it is still occasionally sold for fruit production though is not broadly available from nurseries.
Please see our Landscape Alternatives landing page for more information about how the WIGL Collaborative selected alternatives.
|Alternatives for Wineberry
Common name (Latin name)
|Curving canes||Edible fruit||Thicket forming|
|Common blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)||✔||✔||✔|
|Black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)||✔||✔||✔|
|Purple-flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus)||✔||✔||✔|
Green = native to part of the Great Lakes Basin
The following is a brief overview of management techniques shown to be effective on wineberry. For more detailed information on how to use these techniques, visit our Management and Control page. For local assistance managing woody invasive species, please get in touch with a cooperative invasive species management group or a university extension program.
Timing and spread concerns: Early detection is an advantage in managing any invasive species, but this is especially true for wineberry due to its limited distribution in the Great Lakes region. Whenever possible, individual plants should be controlled before they are able to fruit in order to prevent spread. If control is undertaken after plants have fruited, it is best not to remove the plants from the site to avoid spreading seed.
Physical control: Wineberry plants can be pulled or dug up from moist soil, as long as all roots and cane fragments are removed. This is most readily accomplished when the soil is moist. Wineberry regrows vigorously from cut stems after injury, so methods that top-kill plants, such as prescribed fire, grazing, and cutting, are unlikely to provide effective long-term control and can make the infestation worse over time. However these methods and directed heating may be helpful for reducing the height of large thorny thickets for follow-up with foliar herbicide.
Chemical control and combined approaches: Foliar and cut stump herbicide treatments are effective. Foliar spray may be the most feasible control method for a large, dense infestation, and is effective when plants are actively growing and fully leafed out. It may be most practicable when combined with top killing methods early in the season with foliar herbicide applied to regrowth. Cut stump treatment can be applied during most of the year outside of early spring. In all cases, herbicide should be selected carefully based on site conditions, and label directions read and followed carefully.
With any treatment, it will be necessary to monitor for and treat regrowth and new seedlings in subsequent years.
Resources on management of wineberry:
- Gorchov, DL, Thompson, E, O’Neill, J, Whigham, D, and DA Noe. 2011. Treefall gaps required for establishment, but not survival, of invasive Rubus phoenicolasius in deciduous forest, Maryland, USA. Plant Species Biology. 26: 221-234.
- Innes, RJ. 2009. Rubus phoenicolasius . In: Fire Effects Information System (Online). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. 5/23/2019.
Photo: Matthew Beziat, under Creative Commons license, via flickr.com