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Rubus procerus - P.J.Müll.                
Common Name Himalayan Giant Blackberry
Family Rosaceae
Synonyms R. armeniacus. R. procerus.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known
Range C. Europe.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Rubus procerus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 10 m (32ft 10in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

USDA hardiness zone : 4-8

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Rubus procerus Himalayan Giant Blackberry

Rubus procerus Himalayan Giant Blackberry
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked in pies, cakes etc[3, 105, 183]. The fruit can also be dried for later use[183]. Very large for a blackberry[50, 183] with a very pleasant rich flavour when fully ripe[K].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known
Other Uses

A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit[168].
Cultivation details                                         
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[1, 11, 200]. A form of this species, known as 'Himalayan giant', is commonly cultivated in temperate zones for its edible fruit[50]. Although a blackberry, the stems are often perennial and can fruit for more than one year[50]. This name may be wrongly applied . According to the new RHS Dictionary of Gardening, the correct name for the 'Himalayan Giant' blackberry is R. procerus. P.J.Muell., the name R. discolor is misapplied. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
Seed - requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn[200].
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Expert comment                                         
Administrator .
Mar 25 2011 12:00AM
I grew this at an altitude of 200m+ in Cumbria and it was not as productive as the local native varieties. Underwhelming.
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[3]Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit.
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[50]? Flora Europaea
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
A. Wigmore Sun Oct 27 07:40:57 2002
I found on the internet that this plant is supposed to be very invasive at the expense of local species. Is it a good idea to introduce it in my garden, in the middle of the countryside?
Elizabeth H.
Jean C. Fisher Sat May 22 00:01:57 2004
Luther Burbank hybridized a robus which he dubbed "Himalaya" in 1885 from vines originally sent to him "from India" ("Partner of Nature", Wilbur Hall, 1939, D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., NY & London, p. 192.) However, the reference contained here to fruit "not produced in great abundance" is directly contradicted by the words of Burbank in the aforementioned volume, to wit:

"...For there appeared among seedlings of the second generation an individual vine that was a very marked improvement on its parents. It proved to have so many fine qualities that it was introduced, in 1885, and widely sold. I called it the Himalaya. Its berry was and is large, glossy, and sweet, BUT THE OUTSTANDING CHARACTERISTIC OF THE VARIETY IS ITS PRODIGIOUS POWER OF BEARING..." (my emphasis).

So, it would seem as though, perhaps, sales methods on the parts of some less than scrupulous nurseries have probably (at some point in the past), once again, sold a more easily available variety and labeled it with a more desirable variety's nomenclature... (This is a problem that plagued Burbank for his entire career...)

Elizabeth H.
Lauren Sat Aug 9 2008
I live in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., a very temperate coastal climate here. This giant himalayan blackberry takes over farmland and woodland alike here. It is obnoxious because it makes it hard to get to anything. The plants are constantly needing to be cut back off of roads here. A warning about this plant! I have recently been wondering how best to start removing this plant from the woods so that I can walk around picking berries and studying the plants without getting torn up by these rotton, giant thorny bushes. Any ideas?
Elizabeth H.
Jeff Walker Mon Jan 19 2009
There seems to be great confusion about 'Himalayan' berry. Could someone please post a photograph of leaf and berry. The type I am familiar with has a solid leaf 3-4" diameter with a 5 'lobule' edge. The only specimen I have seen since childhood in Victoria, Australia (70 years ago) will fruit in about 2 weeks so will post photo if this site permits. Jeff
Elizabeth H.
Heinrich E. Weber Wed Apr 8 2009
The plant treated here is in fact Rubus armeniacus Focke ('Himalayan', 'Theodor Reimers'), not Rubus procerus. The latter occurs only in the wild (Europe) and has never been grown in gardens. The correct (older) name for Rubus procerus P.J. Mueller is Rubus praecox Bertoloni.

Rubus anglocandicans... Illustriations of Rubus armeniacus and R. praecox (R. procerus).

Elizabeth H.
Jeff Sun Nov 8 2009
Mr. Weber is correct, the name is incorrect. However, beware of this plant! It should not be listed as a viable food plant outside of its native habitat. It is a highly invasive plant with very thick, long and thorny canes that continue to be thick, long and thorny for years after their death. Thorns are razor sharp and slice skin with ease. There is perhaps no better known invasive plant in the Pacific North West of the US/Canada than this one. They spread quickly through the cane rooting and birds dropping seeds. They are very difficult to eradicate and can quickly devour large parcels of land out competing natives. In a temperate climate with no animals to eat them, you (and neighbors, community) will with you never let it in your garden. This is no joke. There are other berry producing plants that are far more tame. The berries are large, abundant and flavorful. They are very seedy and not considered a good pie berry due to the seeds. They are a great wine berry. Common theme, these plants are better on someone else's property! Those with acreage eradicate at first site, if they are lucky not to have any already.
Natasha L.
Jan 11 2012 12:00AM
Yes, it is invasive in the Pacific NW (USA), but if you kept a team of goats to help manage it, they would happily oblige in assisting. It is a great favorite of theirs for forage. If someone wants to know where to find friendly goats for that purpose, I know of plenty of people who sell them...including myself. The berries from this species are amazing in syrups and jelly. If you had an otherwise unusable area of land, or a neglected fenceline, they would be a great addition.
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