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Brambles, Butterflies and Blackberries

 

Brambles is often a name referring to the native blackberry bush, a thorny perennial plant that can often be seen growing wild amongst hedgerows and in gardens and woodland. It is able to tolerate even poorest soil types, and if left unchecked, often spreads, covering large areas of ground.

Its distinctive growth of long ‘biennial stems’ also known as Canes, these are covered along their length in sharp spines or thorns. In late Spring/early Summer stems of white petalled flowers appear from the canes attracting many species of butterflies, and other insects like hoverflies and bees.

Comma Butterfly feeding on ripe Blackberries

Comma Butterfly on ripe Blackberries

The blackberry is one of a group of more than 350 different species found around the world, these include raspberries, cranberries and loganberries.

There are also many hybrid varieties available specifically for the garden, some of which like ‘Black Diamond’ and ‘Black Pearl’ even have thorn-less canes.

Bramble Blackberry (Rubus spp.) flowers on bush

Bramble Blackberry (Rubus spp.) flowers on bush

As the flower petals fall away first signs of the green fruit begin to appear, growing in size during the summer and turning from red to black when fully ripened in the Autumn.

The blackberries when ripe attract butterflies, wild birds, small mammals and humans, although newly grown plants don’t produce flowers or fruit until their second year.

Ripe and ripening wild Blackberries rubus

Ripe and ripening wild Blackberries

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