One of the world's worst weeds has been found in Auckland and this big, bad, blackberry may have been deliberately brought into the country and planted despite being on a banned list.
The Himalayan wineberry bramble has been found growing near Gills Scenic Reserve in Albany.
Unitec environmental and animal sciences associate professor, Dr Peter de Lange, says the bramble is particularly nasty and it grows in a dense, thick mass up to 20-metres tall, smothering forest canopies.
It has already taken hold in Hawaii and the fear is it will do the same here.
Dr de Lange says it could cause considerable damage if it is not contained.
Once it takes hold in a forest, tackling it with weedkiller is not an option as it grows so densely any poison would damage the plants around it.
He stumbled across the Albany bush by accident, while carrying out a routine scoping inspection last week. It is growing on a roadside and within private land adjoining Gills Scenic Reserve.
It is the first report of the species to be found in New Zealand but de Lange fears it may
already be growing elsewhere.
The berries, which are edible and taste a little like raspberries, are bird-dispersed which means occurrences can be random and difficult to detect until plants are well established.
The Himalayan wineberrry has thick, deeply furrowed dark green leaves with white flowers and pale orange-yellow flowers.
De Lange says its accidental discovery highlights the need for everyone out walking to be vigilant and attuned to the unusual.
He says practically everyone has a phone with a digital camera and it's so easy to take and upload images to sites such as iNaturalist - a global website connecting the public, scientists and biologists.