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A very common shrubby plant that supports a significant amount of animal life of all kinds.


  • Bramble: the blackberry

    Post date: Thursday, 28 August, 2014 - 00:00

    Other than, perhaps, the leaves on the trees starting to turn colour what more potent reminder that autumn is fast approaching is there than clusters of blackberries in the hedgerows? The blackberry is, of course, the fruit of the bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.).

    We must surely all be familiar with the blackberry, indeed there can be few of us that have not picked the odd one as we walk along country lanes and footpaths and it is almost a national pass time to go blackberrying with the family, probably the inspiration for the surge in pick-your-own farms back in the eighties which are something of a thing of the past now, just a very few remaining here in Dorset.

    Although we call the shrubs 'bramble' and the fruits 'blackberries' as if they are of one species this is actually not so. There are many varieties of bramble which are recognised sub-species and that is why some blackberries look more inviting than others, they are a different sub-species. This is also why the scientific name has 'agg' after it; the 'agg' is an abbreviation 'aggregation' or, in other words, the adding together of all the sub-species into an aggregated species collection. Telling these sub-species apart is a challenge for anyone but a specialist.

    The blackberry must be our most common autumn fruit and it is popular with wildlife as well as humans. If you look closely you will often see insects on the fruits, especially greenbottles that were on that nearby heap of dog poo just a few minutes ago. Anyone fancy a wild blackberry straight from the bush?


  • Bramble: something for everyone

    Post date: Tuesday, 24 May, 2016 - 21:19

    Whilst out for a stroll, scouring the blackberry bushes for interesting things to see and photograph, it occurred to me just what a vital plant the common bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.) is. I suspect we all take brambles for granted, they can be found just about anywhere and are usually an untidy mess of entwined twiggy branches with very sharp thorns. Often not tolerated, especially in gardens where they can be an unwelcome invasive weed, and yet they are one of the mainstays of our native fauna. 

    Thet are a member of the rose family the white or pink flowers in mid summer and are a key nectar source for countless insects and masses of gatekeeper butterflies gather round them and it where you will often find ringlets. Bees, hoverflies and other flies and beetles can all be found on the flowers. When the flowers are over and the fruits come so, again, it is insects that feed on the them. Red admiral, for example, being a typical blackberry fancier. At night small mammals nibble at the fruits too. 

    The leaves are eaten by caterpillars and leaf miners and the little gall wasp, Diplolepis rosae, lays its eggs in in the stem which create the well known Robins Pin Cushion.

    Spiders galore, especially the common cross spider, use the branches as anchors for their webs as they know there are rich pickings to be had around bramble bushes. Those branches, with their sharp thorns, provide shelter for other animals and bush crickets can often be found in the inner depths of a bramble bush (I use my bat detector to locate them). On top of all this, a favoured pass time for us humans every autumn is to go blackberrying and take our pick of the choicest fruits.

    Thank heaven for the common bramble! 


Common Name Bramble
Scientific Name Rubus fruticosus agg.
Species Group Rose Family Rosaceae
Interest Level
Look for
Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Family Rose family - Rosaceae
Status Abundant
Flower Colour Group White
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
Preferred Environment
Look for Bushy, untidy shrub with sharp prickles!
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Rose Family Rosaceae