Monday, July 25, 2005

Rusty Blackberries

According to this article over at ABC News, a rust fungus (Phragmidium violaceum) used as a biological control for unwanted blackberry plants (Rubus spp.) has been accidentally introduced into the U.S. Ironically, the U.S. was considering introducing the fungus intentionally to help control the invasive Himalayan blackberry (Rubus discolor). Now the rust has been found in several spots in Oregon, first on Himalayan blackberry and later in almost every single farmed blackberry field. Oregon officials are concerned about the susceptibility the marionberry (Rubus ursinus), the state's official berry, which is also their second largest farmed blackberry crop.

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