Rubus australis


Rubus: From the Latin meaning bramble
australis: southern

Common Name(s)

Tataramoa, bush lawyer, swamp lawyer

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Rubus australis G.Forst.



Brief Description

Prickly vine with compound, leathery, hairless leaves, leaflets 3-5 leathery, margins serrated, veins, petiolules, petioles and young stems armed in broad-based slender red prickles. Flowers in much-branched panicles, white, cream or pink (individual flowers often widely spaced from each other). Fruits numerous, yellow to orange-red.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Endemic. New Zealand. North and South Islands


Coastal to montane. Usually in forest but also found in scrub, and often on the margins of, or within wetlands.


Much-branched dioecious vine or scrambling vine with stems up to 10 m or more long. Juvenile plants creeping over forest floor, with stems rooting at intervals. Adult vines scrambling up surrounding vegetation. Primary stems of mature vines up to 100 mm diameter, terete, glabrous, unarmed, young branchlets minutely pubescent becoming glabrous with age (juvenile vines often with glabrous stems), otherwise covered in numerous wide-based, otherwise slender, reddish, falcate prickles. Stipules minute, caducous, narrowly deltoid. Leaves of juveniles ternate to quinate, petioles up to 60 mm long; lamina of juvenile leaflets chartaceous, 10-30 × 10-20 mm, ovate to ovate-oblong, acute to obtuse, acutely serrate; borne on petiolules up to 50 mm long; veins distinct (often reddish), glabrate though with sparse fine hairs on main veins of both surfaces and margins; Leaves of adults palmate, ternate to quinate, petioles 20-50 mm long; lamina of adult leaflets coriaceous, 30-50 × 10-35 mm, elliptic to ovate or suborbicular, acute to obtuse, rounded to oblique at base, margins coarsely and often unevenly serrate up to 10x either side, adaxially weakly bullate, glossy, green to dark green, abaxially paler, otherwise weakly bullate or notmore or less glabrous (usually with weak hairs on major veins on both surfaces and margins), veins distinct to indistinct; petiolules minute (rarely up to 20 mm long). Inflorescence a much-branched panicle up to 200 mm long (sometimes a narrow few-flowered raceme), branchlets and pedicels more or less finely pubescent. Flowers white, cream or pinkish. borne distantly on pedicels c.10 mm long. Sepales 2-4 mm long, ovate, obtuse, pubescent; petals 5, 3-6 mm long, ovate to broadly so. Fruits 9 mm diameter, drupelets 8-15 (or more), yellowish to orange-red. Endocarp 'seed' 3.3-4.2 mm long, dorsally ridged 3x.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from introduced Rubus (blackberries, raspberries wineberries etc) by the smaller flowers, usually palmate or ternate leaves, and the lack of long glandular bristly hairs on the young stems. From other indigenous Rubus (bush lawyers) can be distinguished by the coarsely serrated, elliptic, ovate to suborbicular adult leaves, which bear 10 or fewer teeth on either side of the leaflet, and which are virtually hairless except from fine, sparse hairs on the veins and leaflet margins.


August - October

Flower Colours



December - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from layered stems and semi-hardwood cuttings. Flourished when planted in damp ground in a well-lighted situation. Not often grown on account of its prickly stems - but nevertheless an attractive plant. The fruits though edible are insipid.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 28

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Rubus australis Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=1262 (Date website was queried)




Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (17 October 2016). Description based on Allan (1961), Webb et al. (1988) and Webb & Simpson (2001)

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Wellington, Government Printer.

Webb CJ, Sykes WR, Garnock-Jones PJ 1988: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch.

Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.

This page last updated on 5 Nov 2016