Galapagos Species Checklist

Rubus niveus


Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Plantae
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Magnoliopsida (= Dicotyledoneae)
Order Rosales
Family Rosaceae
Genus Rubus

Rubus niveus  Thunb.


English common name: Blackberry, hill raspberry, Ceylon raspberry

Spanish common name: mora, mora de Castilla, mora de monte, mora extranjera, mora silvestre o morita

Local name: mora

Taxonomic comments: Syn. over 20 names, including Rubus albescens Roxb.; Rubus lasiocarpus Sm.

Name status: Accepted name; taxon occurs in Galapagos.

Description: A climbing perennial shrub that can grow to a height of 5m and under all light conditions. The stems are smooth and spiny with a whitish sheen. The green leaves have 7 to 10 leaflets with a whitish fur on the underside. The pink flowers occur in groups of 20-50. Fruit look like blackberries, sweet to taste, purple and furry. The plant grows quickly and produces flowers and fruits from 6 months of age. The fruits are dispered by animals, and the seeds remain viable in the soil for at least 4 years. It can also spread by suckers.

There are four other species of Rubus introduced to Galapagos, however, this is the only one that has spread.

Year of first record: 1968

Last updated: 16 Oct 2017


  • In
  • Na

  • Ac
  • Cu
  • Er
  • Es

    Taxon introduced for agricultural or domestic use; naturalized in the wild.

  • Ic
  • AcQ
    Questionable Accidental
  • NaQ
    Questionable Native


Galapagos island groups: Floreana, Isabela, San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Santiago.

Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela, Floreana, Santiago. The distribution on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal is broad and affects the agricultural area and National Park on both islands. The distribution on Isabela, Floreana, and Santiago is smaller but it is expanding rapidly.

Preference for altitude zone in Galapagos: Humid zone.

Native range: Introduced from India via South Africa and Central America to Ecuador. Introduced several times to Santa Cruz island, Galapagos for its fruit, starting in 1968, and from there to the other islands.

Distribution classification: Paleotemperate.

Please be aware that this distribution map is automatically generated from database records (CDF and external specimens, literature records, and observations) and may not accurately reflect the currently-known distribution for all species.

General Ecology

Habitat preferences: Prefers moist to wet areas. Found in forest edges, riparian habitats, woodland, and disturbed sites.

Trophic role: Primary producer (autotroph: an organism that does not require organic matter to feed on but is capable to produce its own energy).

Growth form: Shrubs.

Reproductive biology: Fruit is dispersed by animals, especially birds. The seeds remain viable in soil for at least 4 years. The plant is also able to spread vegetatively, producing roots when its long branches touch the ground.

Dispersal mechanism: Various.

Dispersal propagule: Fruit.
Seeds are dispersed via ingestion by animals, especially birds.

Economic use: Introduced for its fruit. Fruit still used for jams.

Invasion Ecology

Aggressive status: Transformer (An introduced species that is in the process of drastically, fundamentally and often irreversibly changing natural habitat.).

Form of introduction: Intentional introduction.

Impact in Galapagos: In Galapagos, Rubus niveus has invaded open vegetation, shrubs and forests, forming dense patches up to 4 m high, replacing native vegetation and threatening many native communities such as Scalesia pedunculata forest. In the agricultural zone, R. niveus has spread aggressively, making land unsuitable for agriculture, and causing serious economic problems for farmers.

Known pest elsewhere: Southern Africa, Central and Southern America, Hawaii, Australia

Impact elsewhere: Known problem in Hawaii for agriculture.

Persistence mechanisms: Seeds


Control history in Galapagos: Seedlings can be pulled by hand. The use of herbicide (picloram) on leaves can kill the plants. Due to its extent in Galapagos, cover, a seed bank that lasts about 4 years, and the rapid growth of plants from seedling to reproduction, manual and chemical control is complicated. This species would be as ideal target for biological control.

Control methods elsewhere: In Hawaii a herbicide cocktail is used consisting of Garlon 4, Roundup Promax and Escort XP or, Milestone VM Plus.


Temperature tolerance: Wide range (adapted to a wide range of temperatures).

Continentality: Continental (Distribution of a terrestrial species far away from the ocean.).

Light tolerance: Wide range (adapted to a wide range of light regimes).

Precipitation preference: Wide range (adapted to a wide range of rainfall).

Adaptation to substrate moisture: Wide range (adapted to a wide range of substrate moisture).

Exposure tolerance: Wide range (adapted to a wide range of light-, rain-, wind-exposure).



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