ROSE FAMILY - Rosaceae: High Bush Blackberry; Bramble

Rubus villosus

Flowers--White, 1 in. or less across, in terminal raceme-like clusters. Calyx deeply 5-parted, persistent; 5 large petals; stamens and carpels numerous, the latter inserted on a pulpy receptacle. Stem: 3 to 10 ft. high, woody, furrowed, curved, armed with stout, recurved prickles. Leaves: Compounded of 3 to 5 ovate, saw-edged leaflets, the end one stalked, all hairy beneath. Fruit: Firmly attached to the receptacle; nearly black, oblong juicy berries 1 in. long or less, hanging in clusters. Ripe, July-August.

Preferred Habitat--Dry soil, thickets, fence-rows, old fields, waysides. Low altitudes.

Flowering Season--May-June.

Distribution--New England to Florida, and far westward.
  "There was a man of our town,
     And he was wondrous wise,
   He jumped into a bramble bush"--

If we must have poetical associations for every flower, Mother Goose furnishes several.

But for the practical mind this plant's chief interest lies in the fact that from its wild varieties the famous Lawton and Kittatinny blackberries have been derived. The late Peter Henderson used to tell how the former came to be introduced. A certain Mr. Secor found an unusually fine blackberry growing wild in a hedge at New Rochelle, New York, and removed it to his garden, where it increased apace. But not even for a gift could he induce a neighbor to relieve him of the superfluous bushes, so little esteemed were blackberries in his day. However, a shrewd lawyer named Lawton at length took hold of it, exhibited the fruit, advertised it cleverly, and succeeded in pocketing a snug little fortune from the sale of the prolific plants. Another fine variety of the common wild blackberry, which was discovered by a clergyman at the edge of the woods on the Kittatinny Mountains in New Jersey, has produced fruit under skilled cultivation that still remains the best of its class. When clusters of blossoms and fruit in various stages of green, red, and black hang on the same bush, few ornaments in Nature's garden are more decorative.