Rubus ellipticus

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Rubus ellipticus
Berry nepal.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Subgenus: Idaeobatus
Species: R. ellipticus
Binomial name
Rubus ellipticus
Sm. 1815
  • Rubus obcordatus (Franch.) Thuan

Rubus ellipticus, commonly known as golden Himalayan raspberry or as yellow Himalayan raspberry,[2] is an Asian species of thorny fruiting shrub in the rose family. It is native to China, Nepal, the Indian Subcontinent, Indochina, and the Philippines.[3]


The golden Himalayan raspberry is a large shrub with stout stems that can grow to up to 4.5 meters, or about 12 feet long. Its leaves are trifoliate, elliptic, or obovate and toothed with long bristles. Its leaves can grow to up to 5 to 10 centimeters long, or about 3 - 4 inches. Its flowers are short, white, and have five petals and grow in clusters, and blooms in the Himalayas between the months of February and April. Its fruit are sweet, detachable, and highly sought after by birds and elephants.[4][5][6][7]

Rubus ellipticus is sweet to the taste, though it is not commonly harvested for domestic use.[8] The fruit perishes quickly after plucking from the thorny bush.

The bark from this plant is used for medical reasons in Tibetan villages, mainly as a renal tonic and an antidiuretic.[8] Its juices can also be used to treat coughs, fevers, colic and sore throat.[9] The plant can also be used to make a bluish-purple dye.[8]


The golden Himalayan raspberry's origin is in the temperate Himalayas region, and is native to India, Pakistan, Nepal and China. It is spread through cultivation.[10] It is often found in Pine forests of the region.[11]

The golden Himalayan raspberry can be found in mesic or wet forests, and have adapted to be able to live in complete shade and in full sun exposure.[6] As with other Rubus species, its seeds are readily distributed by birds.[12] It can also propagate, or asexual reproduction, itself through cutting.[13] It can grow in open fields or in canopies of moist forests.

The Himalayan raspberry can also support large populations of Drosophila, or fruit flies, from its rotting fruit,[5] and its fruits are also consumed by elephants.[14]


Starr 011205-0075 Rubus ellipticus.jpg
Prickly stem of R. ellipticus

Rubus ellipticus is listed in the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group database as an Invasive species, one of the World's 100 worst invasive species.[5] It was first introduced in 1961 in Hawaii as an edible fruit and as an ornamental plant.[6]

The yellow Himalayan raspberry poses a threat to native communities because it forms thick, impenetrable thickets, and competes with the native Hawaiian raspberry.[5][8] Abandoned farms and lands disturbed by feral pig populations are also susceptible to invasion. Its ability to grow tall due to its stout stems is also a threat because of its ability to establish itself within the tree canopy.[7] The yellow Himalayan raspberry is also a threat to native flora because it can outcompete other plants. More specifically, it has higher photosynthetic rates, has higher Nitrogen Fixation rates, and therefore a higher photosynthetic nitrogen use efficienty (or PNUE).[13]

The yellow Himalayan raspberry is currently only invasive on Hawaii.[7] It is considered a noxious weed by the National Park Service and the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture.[12]

Control Strategies[edit]

Due to its limited range, the golden Himalayan raspberry has been contained to a few stations on Hawaii. Any new populations are to be eliminated as quickly as possible.[12] Control practices at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has shown that simply identifying and removing the shrub can help dramatically reduce its invasive impact.[15]

To fully eliminate a yellow Himalayan raspberry shrub, its roots systems must be pulled out. The shrub shoots out roots deep underground after a fire or cutting. Fire can be applied to the roots if the shrub has been removed by physical means. Herbicide, such as Roundout, a common pesticide, can also be used in containing the shrub.[6]

Other Uses[edit]

Nepal farmers have had limited success in harvesting and fermenting the aiselu fruit to produce a fruit wine.[16] In Sikkim, its roots are used to treat stomach pain and headaches, and its fruits are used to treat indigestion.[17]

The golden Himalayan raspberry has also been studied for potential antioxidants in its fruits.[18]


  1. ^ The Plant List, Rubus ellipticus Sm.
  2. ^ "Rubus ellipticus". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Flora of China, Rubus ellipticus Smith, 1815. 椭圆悬钩子 tuo yuan xuan gou zi
  4. ^ Chen, Jin; et al. (2006). ""Diet composition and foraging ecology of Asian elephants in Shangyong, Xishuangbanna, China."". Acta Ecologica Sinica 26.2: 309–316. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Rubus ellipticus". Invasive Species Specialist Group. 20 July 2006. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Yellow Himalayan Rasberry". PCA Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group. 7 July 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Stratton, Lisa (December 1996). The Impact and Spread of Rubus ellipticus in 'Ola'a Forest Tract Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Madison. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Rubus ellipticus". Global Invasive Species Database. Invasive Species Specialist Group. 20 July 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  9. ^ "Rubus ellipticus". Useful Tropical Plants. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  10. ^ Singh, Anurudh K (March 2017). "Revisiting the Status of Cultivated Plant Species Agrobiodiversity in India: An Overview". Proc Indian Natn Sci Acad. 83 (1): 151–174. doi:10.16943/ptinsa/2016/v82/48406. 
  11. ^ Negi, P.S. (2008). "Bio-diversity: A Vanishing Himalayan Splendour". Uttarakhand, Need for a Comprehensive Eco-strategy: 317–338. 
  12. ^ a b c Jacobi, James D.; Warshauer, Frederick R. (1992). Stone, Charles P.; Smith, Clifford W.; Tunison, J. Timothy, eds. Distribution of six alien plant species in upland habitats on the island of Hawaii. University of Hawaii, Honolulu: Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit. pp. 155–188. 
  13. ^ a b Funk, Jennifer L. (10 September 2008). "Differences in plasticity between invasive and native plants from a low resource environment". Journal of Ecology. 96 (6): 1162–1173. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2745.2008.01435.x. 
  14. ^ Jin, Chen; Xiaobao, Deng; Ling, Zhang; Zhilin, Bai (February 2006). "Diet composition and foraging ecology of Asian elephants in Shangyong, Xishuangbanna, China". Acta Ecologica Sinica. 26 (2): 309–316. 
  15. ^ Tunison, J. Timothy; Stone, Charles P. (1992). Special ecological areas: an approach to alien plant control in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Alien plant invasions in native ecosystems of Hawai'i: management and research. pp. 781–798. 
  16. ^ Dahal, S. "Making of Nepali Wine". Nepali Times. Nepali Times. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  17. ^ Pradhan, Bharat K; Badola, Hemant K (1 October 2008). "Ethnomedicinal plant use by Lepcha tribe of Dzongu valley, bordering Kanchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, in North Sikkim, India". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-4-22. 
  18. ^ Badhani, Amit; Rawat, Sandeep; Bhatt, Indra D.; Rawal, Ranbeer S. (29 July 2015). "Variation in chemical constituents and antioxidant activity in Yellow Himalayan (Rubus ellipticus Smith) and hill raspberry (Rubus niveus Thunb.)". Journal of Food Biochemistry. 39: 667–672. doi:10.1111/jfbc.12172.