Nature Table: Brambles

The bramble or blackberry plant has a long flowering season, but it’s at its height at present. 

The flowers, common all over the country, particularly in hedgerows and on waste ground, are white, often tinged with pink, and have five petals and five sepals.

The plants spread by producing long canes which root when the tips touch the ground, often forming impenetrable thickets.

The unpleasant sharp bits that make them impenetrable should technically be called prickles, not thorns.

The plant is also spread by birds and animals which eat the black fruits when they ripen in the autumn.

Even carnivores like foxes and badgers tend to switch to blackberries when they’re in season and, of course, there is a tradition that seems to stretch back to prehistoric times of their use as a human food.

They are certainly nutritious, though some claims for their health benefits, including their role in cancer prevention, have not been scientifically proven.

Their scientific classification is complicated with hundreds of micro-species and hybrids.


Lifestyle

Bless me readers, I have sinned. This week, we had more than a few visitors around, some water was wasted in the back garden and I was judgmental about my friends’ parenting style.Learner Dad: The highlight was when my daughter roared, ‘this is just like being on holidays’

Wearing gloves when out in public has become more prevalent and so has pulling them on in the garden during lockdown, writes Ray RyanIreland's growing love for gardening

Dublin songstress, Imelda May.Imelda May returns with spoken word album Slip Of The Tongue

Tackling skin pigmentation requires patience, but it doesn’t need to be difficult.The Skin Nerd: What should be my first step towards lightening age spots?

More From The Irish Examiner