The humble Blackberry or Bramble, that vengeful plant that borders rural tracks and sends prickly stems across the path, just waiting for the joy of tripping someone over. The perfect human trap to reduce our lofty dignity, something that most of us has experienced in our lives
Yet, when it is in flower, a cloud of delicate white over a hedge, it is a delight for wildlife. Just stand in the warm sun and watch the activity. Spiders, both on circular webs, or in a tangle of hammocks, Hover flies, Bluebottles, Honey and Bumble Bees, Grasshoppers and many more. But probably best of all, the butterflies.
They just love the flowers of Bramble, no doubt just as much as we love the juicy blackberries which follow in the autumn. The many butterflies frequently seen are Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Small Heaths, Small Skippers and Small Tortoiseshells.
The Blackberry is one of many species of Bramble and is particularly for its abundant pink or white flowers and its large juicy fruits in autumn. It has both prickly leaves and stems and is particularly fast growing, spreading over the ground on long stems and putting down roots for new plants as it goes. The fruit is a widely recognised sight, turning from red to the near-black that gives them their name. Going ‘blackberrying’ is still a common practice today and one of the few acts of foraging to survive into the modern age.
People in Britain have been eating blackberries for generations, so long that their seeds were found in the stomach of a Neolithic man uncovered by archaeologists at Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex.
Quick identification facts:
Size: To 90 cm.
Colour: White or pale pink flowers, purple-black fruits.
Habitat: Woodland, hedgerows, open spaces and gardens.
Distribution: Common in most of England, Wales and Ireland, less common in northern Scotland.