Ripe and unripe Blackberries in our neighbour’s garden. The kids love ‘em!
Taken while I prepared the Barbie…
The blackberry is an edible fruit produced by Rubus fruticosus, or any of several hybrids between that species and others of the Rubus genus in the Rosaceae family. The term ‘bramble’, a word meaning any impenetrable scrub, has traditionally been applied specifically to the blackberry or its products, though in the USA it applies to all members of the Rubus genus.
The (usually) black fruit is not a true berry; botanically it is termed an aggregate fruit, composed of small drupelets. It is a widespread and well-known group of over 375 species, many of which are closely related apomictic microspecies native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere and South America.
Blackberries are perennial plants which typically bear biennial stems (“canes”) from the perennial root system. In its first year, a new stem, the primocane, grows vigorously to its full length of 3–6 m (in some cases, up to 9 m), arching or trailing along the ground and bearing large palmately compound leaves with five or seven leaflets; it does not produce any flowers. In its second year, the cane becomes a floricane and the stem does not grow longer, but the lateral buds break to produce flowering laterals (which have smaller leaves with three or five leaflets). First and second year shoots usually have numerous short curved very sharp prickles that are often erroneously called thorns. Prickle-free cultivars have been developed. Recently the University of Arkansas has developed primocane fruiting blackberries that grow and flower on first year growth much as the primocane-fruiting (also called fall bearing or everbearing) red raspberries do.
Unmanaged mature plants form a tangle of dense arching stems, the branches rooting from the node tip on many species when they reach the ground. Vigorous and growing rapidly in woods, scrub, hillsides and hedgerows, blackberry shrubs tolerate poor soils, readily colonizing wasteland, ditches and vacant lots.
The flowers are produced in late spring and early summer on short racemes on the tips of the flowering laterals. Each flower is about 2–3 cm in diameter with five white or pale pink petals.
The drupelets only develop around ovules that are fertilized by the male gamete from a pollen grain. The most likely cause of undeveloped ovules is inadequate pollinator visits. Even a small change in conditions, such as a rainy day or a day too hot for bees to work after early morning, can reduce the number of bee visits to the flower, thus reducing the quality of the fruit. Incomplete drupelet development can also be a symptom of exhausted reserves in the plant’s roots, or infection with a virus such as Raspberry bushy dwarf virus.
In botanical terminology, the fruit is not a berry, but an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets.
The soft fruit is popular for use in desserts, jams, seedless jelly (called Bramble jelly in the UK) and sometimes wine. It is often mixed with apples for pies and crumbles.
Good nectar producers, blackberry shrubs bearing flowers yield a medium to dark, fruity honey.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
Exposure time: 1/250s
Focal length: 105mm
ISO Speed: 100
Processed with PS CS6