Bramble - Rubus fruticosus agg.
Family - Rosaceae
Commonly known as Blackberry

Widespread and well known shrub in Britain and Continental Europe growing to 3M (10ft) high producing a soft bodied fruit popular for making jams and sometimes wine.  A very variable species composed of many sub-species with a scrambling habit of dense arching stems carrying short curved very sharp spines, the branches rooting from the tip node when they reach the ground.  Very pervasive, growing at fast daily rates in woods, scrub, hillsides and hedgerows, colonising large areas in a relatively short time.  It will tolerate poor soil and is an early coloniser of wasteland and building sites.  Palmate leaves of three to five leaflets with flowers of white or pink appearing from May to August, ripening to a black or dark purple multi-lobed fruit (technically a "drupe"), the "Blackberries".  Fruit is similar to Raspberry but larger, Raspberry is red in colour and "daintier".

Used for pies, wine, jam and jellies, superstition holds that Blackberries should not be picked after September 29th (Michaelmas) as the Devil has claimed them, having left his mark on the leaves.  Related to the smaller R. caesius which produces a white waxy coating on the fruits.  It is not advisable to use or eat Blackberries growing close to roadside due to the accumulation of various toxins from passing traffic, Eg. smoke particles, road dirt, oil, Diesel, Glycol, Lead (although less so now it's been banned in petrol).

Bramble - Rubus fruticosus agg. flowers Bramble - Rubus fruticosus agg. fruit Bramble - Rubus fruticosus agg. not yet fully ripe
Click for a larger image
Photo ©1999
University of Wisconsin Madison
Two photos above ©2001

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