Is the blackberry plant a weed?
You bet it is. If you’re not from the western part of the Pacific Northwest you might only conger up syrups, pies, cobblers or jams when you think of sweet-tasting blackberries. And in fact, if you’re from here, the chances are good that you probably enjoy picking them at this time of year when they’re ripe by the millions. However, the Himalayan blackberry plant is extremely aggressive and can swallow up vacant lots, back yards, bike paths, sheds, garden tools and anything else outdoors if you don’t keep your eye on it. First introduced from Europe as a crop plant in the late 1800’s (what a bad idea), it spread to become a first-class, expensive nuisance.
Blackberry plants have thick stems with piercing thorns and they’re almost impossible to get rid of. They’re perennials that can reproduce from seed, root crowns, root pieces and even stem cuttings. Animals in the wild eat them and they carry the seeds and deposit them in new places. It’s a losing battle.
The blackberries pictured here were growing on the edge of the bike path on Marine Drive East, near Blue Lake Park last weekend. However every time we get on our bikes we see them towering easily 10-15 feet high along our routes. Occasionally we have to swerve or duck so that we don’t get snagged by the thorny branches that stretch out on some paths. There are tons of them growing in our neighborhood. Maybe I’ll go pick some.