ROSE FAMILY - Rosaceae: High Bush Blackberry; Bramble
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.
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.