Bramble / Blackberry
Long arching prickly stems root where they touch the ground. Seed spread in bird
droppings, mean they can appear in most places, usually from below hedgerows,
shrubs and trees where the birds perch. The mature plant stems can reach 3
metres, with about four or five arising from a root. The picture includes a
seedling showing the immature leaves, older leaves have three to five, oval
toothed leaflets with prickles on the back of the petiole and centre vein. They
are arranged alternately on the thorny stem. The backward facing thorns are the
means by which the stems cling on as they grow through bushes and trees - and
ruin many knitted swetters!
The leaves contain tannins giving them astringent, antiseptic and antifungal properties. They can be made into a fragrant tea which can be taken for coughs, colds and flu.
The white, pink or purple flowers appear from May to September on second year stems which die back later after the ripe purple-black berries follow from September to October.