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Bramble

Plant

Rubus fruticosa

Also known as: Blackberry

This scrambling shrub is a real must in a wildlife garden. Its flowers provide nectar and pollen for many insects, it bears fruit in late summer and autumn, and offers good cover all year round. 

It has arching stems armed with hooked thorns that help it to scramble over anything. When the tip of a stem droops to the ground, it takes root, sending up a new plant. Brambles thrive in most soils and seem happy to grow in the sun or in partial or full shade. 

They can be extremely invasive (and rockhard), so need regular pruning to keep them in check.

Where will I see it?

Most woodlands, hedgerows, scrubby areas and on wasteground.

When will I see it?

Flowers from May to September, fruits from August to October.

Animals that benefit

  • Hundreds of creatures use brambles at different times of the year. 
  • Insects visit the flowers for pollen and nectar, including bumblebees, honey bees, hoverflies, wasps, butterflies, moths, flies and lacewings.
  • Spiders spin webs to catch the bounty of visiting insects.
  • Moths such as buff arches, peach blossom and fox moths lay their eggs on bramble as it is their larval foodplant.
  • Blackbirds, thrushes, chaffinches, starlings, robins, pheasants, foxes, mice and other small mammals eat the fruits.
  • Robins, wrens, thrushes, blackbirds, warblers and finches will nest in bramble and small mammals use it for protection from predators.    

Vital statistics

Native: Yes
Flowers: small, white or pink, from May to September
Fruits: purplish-black berries from August to October

Calendar

Seen in JanuarySeen in FebruarySeen in MarchSeen in AprilSeen in MaySeen in JuneSeen in JulySeen in AugustSeen in SeptemberSeen in OctoberSeen in NovemberSeen in December

Key to calendar