Perhaps the most violently prickly plant in Illinois, not counting the green brier, may be the common blackberry with its viciously recurved prickle-thorns. Like those on some cultivated roses, these thorns are sharp as needles and very strong; they rip flesh or clothing with equal ease, so that the picker of wild blackberries must go armed with the proper protection or suffer the consequences. July and August are wild blackberry time in Illinois, a pleasant time of juicy ripe black globules under a hot summer sun.

Wild Blackberry.

Rubus allegheniensis Porter.

May - June Roadsides, uplands.

In late May and early June the wild blackberries come into bloom along the roadsides and at the edges of thickets, along pasture fences and on dry hills. The tangles of bushes are decorated now with big clusters of five-petaled white flowers, like large white apple blossoms with a star-shaped center emphasized by the cluster of loose dark stamens. A blackberry flower is one of the most delicate and pure white blossoms in the wild.

The blackberry, together with the strawberry, raspberry, plum, cherry, apple, peach, and pear all belong in the important family of Roses, one of the most wonderful and widely spread plant families in the world. Members of this family are found over all parts of the northern hemisphere where the climate is temperate and there are summers and autumns, winters and springs much as we know them in Illinois. A sunny lane, a catbird singing, a vireo nesting in the thorny canes, and wild blackberry blossoms glistening white in the sunshine.