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Sweet Briar

Europe, North Africa

General description

Dense, perennial, deciduous shrub < 3 m tall. Stems are thorny. Leaves are compound, pinnate, glandular, hairy, serrated and release an apple-like fragrance when crushed. Flowers are pink and borne in clusters in spring – summer. Fruits are egg-shaped orange/red hips.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell sweet briar within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant sweet briar within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any sweet briar on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Grassland, pasture, open shrubland, disturbed forest, riparian edges, roadsides, steep slopes, scree fields.

Seeds dispersed by birds and mammals. Vegetative spread from suckers.

Aggressive coloniser of disturbed native vegetation that excludes native plant species. Reduces cover of desirable pasture species and pasture productivity. Can impede stock and farm vehicle movement.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out with care to avoid thorns

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel

Basic Growsafe certified
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant

Safety notes

Plant has thorns.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

blackberry (wild aggregates)
Rubus fruiticosus agg.

Blackberry leaflets are much larger than sweet briar. Flowers are white as opposed to pink.

RPMP status

Whole region (Sustained Control)
Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
Sweet briar - Main species image