1. Rubus probus is a pinnate leaved species, with 5-petalled flowers and bright red fruits which are considerably broader than they are long. It is widespread in Queensland, from Helidon Hills to Cooktown, and also in New Guinea.
It was named in 1923, strangely enough, from Puerto Rico, where it is naturalised. Apparently, seeds were sent to the USA in the early part of this century and then distributed. It obviously thrived in Puerto Rico. R.probus was previously known by the name of R.fraxinifolius, but that species, occurs only in south-east Asia and Indonesia.
A photograph of R.probus appears in the journal Australian Plants, Volume 18, page 76, but labelled as R.rosifolius.
2. Rubus rosifolius is a pinnate leaved species. The red fruits are somewhat conical in shape, longer than they are wide. It is very widespread, extending from China and Taiwan to southem Australia. In Queensland it occurs from the NSW border to as far north as Kroombit Tops.
There are two varieties, which look identical, but differ in the number of petals; var. rosifolius has 5 petals and var. commersonii has 9-13 petals.
It is photographed in Keith Williams' Native Plants of Queensland, Volume 3, p. 274.
3. Rubus queenslandicus is a pinnate leaved species which is closely related to R.rosifolius, but differs by the hairless stems and leaves, the longer stalks on the leaflets, the sparse cover of glands on the leaves and the hairy petals. It has red fruits, rather dry in texture. It is endemic to coastal ranges of north Queensland, especially the Atherton Tableland.
4. Rubus parvifollus - a small species which is often quite prostrate, but can form a shrub to 90 cm high. The leaves are generally trifoliolate, but sometimes have 5 leaflets, and the red fruits while rather small, are very succulent and tasty.
R.parvifolius occurs in Japan, southern China and North Vietnam, and throughout southeastern Australia. In Queensland it is distributed from the NSW border to Eungella National Park, near Mackay.
5. Rubus moorei (silky bramble) - this palmate leaved species (like spokes of a wheel), is a vine which scrambles over rainforest vegetation and can reach tree canopy height. It is dioecious, which means that there are separate male and female plants. The fruits, which are borne in summer, are succulent and black at maturity.
It is relatively restricted in distribution from Lismore to the Conondale Ranges, but it is quite common around O'Reillys guesthouse and adjacent areas of Lamington National Park near the New South Wales/ Queensland border.
R.moorei is photographed in Keith Williams' Native Plants of Queensland, Volume 3, p. 274.
Flowers (top) and Fruit
Photos: Hugh Nicholson
Click for a larger image
6. Rubus nebulosus (green-leaved bramble) - another palmate leaved species. Like R.moorei, it is a dioecious vine which can reach canopy height. The fruits are borne in the summer. It is easily distinguished from R.moorei by the longer virtually glabrous leaflets.
It is widespread in NSW, but in Queensland is confined to the high altitude areas near the border. It is most readily seen at Springbrook, where it often grows adjacent to R.moorei.
As this species was only recently named, it was referred to in the Flora of NSW as Rubus sp.A, and illustrated in Nicholson's Rainforest Plants, Volume 4, page 61, again as Rubus sp.A.
7. Rubus ellipticus - a trifoliolate species with long arching canes bearing red bristles. The fruits are bright yellow, and fairly succulent and tasty. It is an introduced species which comes from India, Sri Lanka, south-east Asia and the Philippines. Seeds were sent to Brisbane (from India) in 1891, and these were distributed to various parts of the state. It first became naturalised at Eumundi, and now is quite common on the Blackall Range. While it is a weed, it never forms large thickets and does not seem too serious.
8. Rubus alceifolius - a vigorous shrubby-vine or sprawling shrub up to 4 metres high, with sirnple 5-7 lobed leaves, with all lobes more or less equal. The fruits are red and succulent. It is a naturalised weed which is a problem at low altitudes in the Wet Tropics of north Queensland. It is indigenous to south-east Asia and the westem parts of Indonesia. It is illustrated in Noxious Weeds of Australia, (1992) p. 576.
9. Rubus moluccanus - a simple leaved species which forms a scrambling shrub to 3 metres high. It is a native species, but its natural range extends far beyond Australia into south east Asia. There are five taxonomic varieties, of which two occur in Queensland:
R.moluccanus var. moluccanus has a shallowly lobed leaf, white petals and erect brown to yellow hairs on the leaf stalks and branchlets. This variety is common in north Queensland, but does occur sporadically in the south, at low altitudes. It includes R.moluccanus var. dendrocharis, a name which has appeared in some books in recent years.
- R.moluccanus var. trilobus has a distinctly 3-lobed leaf, mostly pink petals and appressed greyish hairs on the leaf stalks and branchlets. This variety is common in New South Wales and extends into eastern Victoria. In Queensland, it is mainly in the south, but does extend to the Atherton Tableland. It was formerly (incorrectly) known as R hillii.
The fruits of both varieties are red, succulent and tasty.
10. Rubus x novus - this is a naturally occurring hybrid between R.moluccanus var.trilobus and R.parvifolius. The 'x' in front of the species epithet indicates that it is a hybrid. It is usually trifoliolate, with leaflets much larger than R.parvifolius. The flowers are pink. Interestingly, this hybrid is sterile - it never sets fruit. This explains why it is not terribly common. It occurs very sporadically from eastern Victoria to near Sarina in central Queensland, and could be expected to occur wherever the two parents are growing in close proximity.