Bramble

©Philip Precey

Bramble (blackberries)

©Amy Lewis

Bramble

Scientific name: Rubus fruticosus
The Bramble is the thorny shrub of hedges, woods and scrub that gives us delicious blackberries in autumn. Gathering wild food can be fun, but it's best to do it with an expert - come along to a Wildlife Trust event to try it.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 3m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The Bramble or, as many of us know it, 'Blackberry', is a thorny, fruiting shrub of the rose family, famous for its dark berries, which are relished by people and animals alike. It grows well in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, hedgerows, gardens, scrubland, cliffs, roadside verges and waste ground. Its dense bushes provide valuable protection for nesting birds and good habitat for a range of other small animals. White or pinkish flowers appear between May and September and juicy black fruits are visible throughout the autumn.

How to identify

The Bramble has jagged-edged leaves with five to seven oval leaflets. The thick, arching stems of this scrambling plant are protected by an army of sharp thorns. Its flowers can be white or pink, turning first to green, then red, then finally into blackberries.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Brambles provide an important source of nectar for Brimstone and Speckled Wood butterflies; fruits for Song Thrushes and Yellowhammers; and hiding places for Hedgehogs and Dormice.

How people can help

Gathering wild food can be a satisfying experience and provides a chance to learn about our native plants. However, if you do fancy giving it a go, remember that it is an offence to totally uproot a wild plant and please just take what you need, leaving some for the wild creatures, too. Don't eat anything you can't identify, either - it could make you very ill. To find out more about wild plants, both edible and not, why not come along to a Wildlife Trust event? From fungi forays to woodland walks, there's plenty of opportunities to learn more about your local patch.