Bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.)

loading
Ripe and unripe blackberries
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Bramble fact file

Bramble description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumAnthophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderRosales
FamilyRosaceae
GenusRubus (1)

Brambles form a complex group known as Rubus fruticosus agg. (short for aggregate), containing around 320 individual ‘species’ known as microspecies (3). These varieties are very difficult to tell apart (1). All brambles are sprawling shrubs, with thick prickly stems that are able to take root at their tips (2). The leaves have toothed edges and bear prickles on their undersides (2). The flowers tend to be creamy white with splashes of pink, and the unmistakable blackberries are a deep purplish-black when ripe (4). Microspecies differ on the basis of certain morphological features, including the density and arrangement of the prickles, and general growth form (5).

Also known as
blackberry, bramberry, brambleberry, brummel.
Size
Height: variable (2)
Top

Bramble biology

Brambles are deciduous or semi-evergreen shrubs (3) that are in leaf from March to November (6). Unusually, the ripe fruits can be seen on the plants at the same time as the flowers (7). It flowers from May to September, with the seeds ripening from July to October (6).

Blackberry seeds were discovered in the stomach of a Neolithic human dug up on the Essex coast, indicating that the berries have been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years (8). Blackberrying is one of the most widespread foraging activities to continue today, and they have been picked commercially in many areas (4). As well as their many culinary uses, blackberries have been used to obtain a purple dye. A fibre can be obtained from the stem and the leaves can be dried and used as a substitute for tea (6). The leaves and roots have been used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, and cystitis, and can be made into a gargle for sore throats mouth ulcers and other sores (6).

Top

Bramble range

Brambles are found throughout the British Isles to altitudes of up to 490 m (3). At least 28 micro-species are considered to be rare, with a further 30 being decidedly scarce (5).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
Top

Bramble habitat

Found in woods, scrub, hedgerows, heaths, waste ground, and on banks, thriving best on acidic soils (3).

Top

Bramble status

not threatened (3).

Top

Bramble threats

This species is not threatened.

Top

Bramble conservation

Conservation action is not required for this species at present.

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
Top

Find out more

For more on British native plants and for details of how to get involved in plant conservation visit the website of Plantlife, the wild plant charity:
www.plantlife.org.uk

For more on the folklore of this species see Botanical.com:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/blaber49.html

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
Top

Glossary

Deciduous
A plant that sheds its leaves at the end of the growing season.
Top

References

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (January2004): http://nbn.nhm.ac.uk/nhm
  2. Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G., and Moore, D.M. (1987) Flora of the British Isles. 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  3. Preston, C.D., Pearman, D.A. and Dines, T.D. (2002) New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Mabey, R. (1996) Flora Britannica. Sinclair-Stevenson, London.
  5. Wiggington, M.J. (1999) British red Data Books 1: Vascular Plants. 3rd Edition. JNCC, Peterborough.
  6. Plants for a Future (January 2004): http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Rubus+fruticosus
  7. Botanical.com (January 2004): http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/blaber49.html
  8. Grigson, G. (1996) The Englishman’s Flora. Helicon Publishing Ltd, Oxford.
X
Close

Image credit

Ripe and unripe blackberries  
Ripe and unripe blackberries

© Nigel Bean / naturepl.com

Nature Picture Library
5a Great George Street
Bristol
BS1 5RR
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 117 911 4675
Fax: +44 (0) 117 911 4699
info@naturepl.com
http://www.naturepl.com

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in the Wytham Woods eco-region

This species is featured in:

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog