ST6594 : Stream bed filled with mostly brambles

taken 7 years ago, near to Hill, South Gloucestershire, Great Britain

Stream bed filled with mostly brambles
Stream bed filled with mostly brambles
The view down into the stream gully from the footbridge in ST6594 : Footbridge on the path to Hill
Bramble or blackberry bushes are tough, vigorous colonisers of open ground as well as woodland. They extend long questing shoots which, if they don't find support nearby, will arch over under their own weight. When the tip touches the ground it will root, starting another plant. The shoots are biennial, ie living for two years, so there is ample time for new shoots to branch from the original shoot as well as from the daughter plant. This is one way that brambles have of colonising space. Some forms send out runners along the ground, rooting as they go. Others put up suckers from the root system. Detached pieces of root can start new plants. Brambles are also spread by seed. They are common, in various forms, throughout the British Isles.

The scientific name for brambles in the broad sense is Rubus fruticosus L., also known as the aggregate name. The 'Excursion Flora of the British Isles' (1968) comments: "The forms of this aggregate, commonly treated as separate species, are bewilderingly numerous and difficult to determine [identify]. This arises from the facts that most of them usually set seed without fertilisation by a pollen-derived male nucleus, but can on occasion reproduce sexually and give rise to hybrids. There is one form, the commonest British bramble, which is normally sexual: Rubus ulmifolius petals crumpled, bright purplish-pink. Flowers late. The commonest bramble in general and, unlike most spp., growing on chalky and heavy clay soils."

The flowers and fruit provide valuable food for wildlife. Bramble thickets are good cover for small birds and mammals, and an impenetrable barrier to larger beasts including people unaided by artefacts. In contrast to the fresh green of the young foliage the thickets by late winter can be dark red or deep violet. The study of brambles is known as batology.

Richard Mabey, in 'Food for Free' (1972) comments: Blackberries have a special role in the relationship between townspeople and the countryside Blackberrying carries with it a little of the urban dweller's myth of country life: abundance, harvest, a sense of season, and just enough discomfort to quicken the senses."
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ST6594, 13 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 11 July, 2012   (more nearby)
Monday, 14 January, 2013
Geographical Context
Lowlands  Rivers, Streams, Drainage  Wild Animals, Plants and Mushrooms 
Near (from Tags)
Lower Stone  Hill 
Plant (from Tags)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! ST 6555 9487 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:39.0935N 2:29.9607W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! ST 6555 9487
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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