Okanagan's Most Unwanted

Partners In Crime (By Jade Williams)

What is an invasive species?

An invasive species is a species of organisms that is not native to the environment/ecosystem. They can be harmful to the native organisms in the ecosystem that the invasive species came upon. Some native species become invasive species because another invasive species forced them out of their habitat and into a new one. making the native species of the one ecosystem invasive in another. invasive species can be harmful because they can eat all the native species food, take over their homes, kill the native species and fight with the native species. Not all invasive species last in an environment for along time, some will die off after a couple of days because they are not adapted to the environment.

When Did the Himalayan Blackberry Arrive and How Did it Get Here?

It came from Armenia, Europe. In 1885 it was brought to America by a botanist who prized the plant for the abundant berries. 1945 is when it was planted along the Pacific Coast and is not spread throughout the province.

Physical Descriptions, Common Name, Scientific Name

Common name: Himalayan Blackberry

Scientific name: Rubus armeniacus

Physical descriptions:

- Large and oblong leaves

-Divided into 5 leaflets

-Dark green upper side and greyish green under side

-Flowers are pink and white

- 5 petals per flower and clustered into 5-20 in the spring

- Shiny deep purple blackberries

-Canes are covered in thorns that can range 2cm thick

-Can range from 3m high and 12m long

Hangouts and Recent Sightings

The most recent sighting in the Okanagan is in Abbostford by Stan on November 4, 2011. Himalayan Blackberry is in the South Okanagan, Kootenays, and on the Coast. it likes to hang out along riversides, streams, and banks.


The Himalayan Blackberries is wanted for negatively impacts ecosystems because it decreases the land farmers are able to use to plant crops. It drive's out and away the deep rooted plants making the river banks more prone to flooding.It also helps out other invasive species by shading out the native plants and proving homes and food for the invasive ones.

How Does It Spread?

It spreads by root fragments and stems falling off and burrowing into the dirt. It also spreads from omnivorous animals dropping seeds on the ground. In less then 2 years a single cane can produce a thicket 5m long.


To stop the prevention on the Himalayan Blackberry you can remove the plant, parts of the plant, seeds and remove any seeds on your personal belonging. Make sure the soil and gravel you are planting in aren't contaminated. Lastly just don't buy the seeds.

How Can You Tell the Difference?

The difference between the Himalayan and Evergreen Blackberry are:



- stems arch and lengthen

- 3-5 leaflets

- Leaves are greenish/redish in color on the top and paler in color and harrier on the underside

- The thicket is usually 12 m high, 1.5 m thick

- The thorns always point downwards

- Flowers are pink/white

- Flowers consist of 5 pedals (bloom in June - August)

- Shinny black berries

- Berries are 2 cm long/wide

- Berries are edible, but aren't very tasty (ripe in August - September)



- Stems start to grow (only leaves) in Spring

- Summer - canes become 3m tall and 10m long

- Oval leaflets are shiny green on top pale under

- Leaves tend to be a bit prickly

- Thorns are slightly curved

- Flowers are either white or red

- Flowers consist of 5 pedals

- Pedals are 2.5 across

- Berries are round and shiny

- Berries are 2 cm long/wide

- Berries are tasty and delicious for baking

Interesting Facts

- Grows on roadsides, disturbed sites and pastures

- 7,000 - 13,000 seeds are produced per square m

- Himalayan Blackberries are a biennial plant which means it takes 2 year to complete its lifecycle. In its first year it mainly produces foliage. I it's second year it will flower and set seed, normally early in the season.

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Eastern Grey Squirrel

Where Did it Come From and How?

In 1914, 8 squirrels were imported from New York, New York and released in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC. In 1966 multiple squirrels that had been living on a farm on Vancouver Island escaped and was roaming the island. In 1920 the Eastern Grey Squirrel was fully established in Vancouver

Physical Descriptions, Common Name, Scientific Name

Common name: Eastern grey squirrel

Scientific name: Sciuros caralinensis

Physical Descriptions

- Greyish/ redish in color

- Brown face, feet, and flank

- their long bushy tail can range from 19cm - 25cm

- Head and boy together in length can be 23cm - 30cm

- Long hairy ears

Hangouts and Recent Sightings

The Eastern Grey Squirrel can be found in Vancouver & coast, Thompson, South Okanagan, and on Vancouver Island.

The most recent sighting are:

- Mar 26, 2012 - Eastern Gray Squirrel by Allison in Ladysmith.

- Jun 15, 2012 - Eastern Gray Squirrel by W & F

3 black squirrels and 1 gray squirrel

- Jan 11, 2013 - Eastern Gray Squirrel by Samuel T. Foster

- Jun 6, 2013 - Eastern Gray Squirrel by Judy Sinclair

- Aug 30, 2013 - Eastern Gray Squirrel by Dan

- Apparently sighted frequently in this neighborhood.

- Sep 28, 2013 - Eastern Gray Squirrel by Dan

-Dec 30, 2013 - Eastern Gray Squirrel by Susan


The Eastern Grey Squirrel negativity impacts ecosystems by stripping oak trees of there bark. They also cut out the embryonic root in acorns. They eat the native lily bulbs and raid bird feeders. The squirrels dig up lawns, compete with native birds for tree cavities, chew wires and shingles and make nests on roofs,attics and chimneys.

How Does it Spread?

It spreads easily because the more of them their are the more harm they can do. They also fight the natives. The people also feed the squirrels giving them more reason to stay and bring more of their kind. Another way it spreads is by reproducing. The Eastern Grey Squirrel breeds twice a year and have an average 4 babies


What can you to stop the spread of these invasive species? You can keep your compost, garbage, and pet food covered. buy squirrel proof bird feeders and DO NOT feed them.
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Interesting Facts

- They are one of the top 100 invasive species

- Uses their tail for balance

- Tail distracts predators

- can jump up to 20ft.

- can run 20mph


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"The Aliens Have Landed." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2015.

"Invasive Species." N.p., n.d. Web. http://bcinvasives.ca.

"Biogeoclimate Zones." Biogeoclimate Zones. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2015. http://www.sfu.ca/geog/geog351fall11/project5/Templates/BiogeoclimateMain.html.

"Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society." Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2015. http://www.oasiss.ca/.