Wineberry is an aggressive grower and can form dense thickets covering large areas, displacing many native plants in the process. These plants push out native berry-producing plants by competing successfully to fill the same niche, and native animals spread the seeds after ingesting the berries, furthering their competition over native shrubs. These plants reduce wildlife habitat, as well as recreational area value by making spiny, inpenetrable thickets.
Rubus phoenicolasius is native to China, Japan and Korea, and was first introduced to the United States in the 1890's. It was used as breeding stock for cultivation of raspberries. By the 1970's it was found invading forests and fields, and spread through many states East of the Mississippi River.
Wineberry grows in long, arching canes that can grow up to 9 feet long. Upright stems have red gland-tipped hairs and small spines. Leaves are alternate, palmately compound, with 3 heartshaped serrated leaflets. Small greenish flowers with white petals and reddish hairs occur in late spring to early summer. The edible raspberry-like fruit has bright red to orange-red color, multiple drupes, and ripens from June to July. These plants reproduce by seeds, and through vegetative means including root buds and the sprouting of new plants from where canes touch the soil.
Wineberry is a perennial shrub closely related to blackberries and raspberries. The plant is widespread in the Lower Hudson Valley and thrives in wasteland habitats, forests, fields, stream and wetland edge habitats, open woods, savannas, and prairies. It is well adapted for a variety of habitats, and has a range of tolerance for light, soil type, and moisture level. Wineberry is a New York prohibited plant and may not be sold, imported, purchased, transported, introduced or propagated through the state.