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.


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