Rubus fruticosus , and it’s relative, native Irish cousins

Rubus fruticosa …….aka blackberry or bramble

Genus: Rubus, Species fruitcosa, Family Rosaceae

Yes it’s back to brambles again. I felt that I had to plumb the depths of the Rubus species a bit more. This very useful book called the Census catalogue of the flora of Ireland I have in my possession, and as it says in the link, it  will soon be available to download on line.  Would  I have liked to have been the one to upload all that information? Fascinating and all as it is. In any case if you are interested in the native species it is essential to have a copy.  So how many micro species of bramble are  there  in the land of the Celts? According to this book a study done by Mr. Alan Newton found around 67 micro species. It is fun typing and  flummoxing google with some of these names. Rubus ulmifolius however is easily recognised by the search engine. It can be found in all of the vice counties of Ireland.

 The Vice counties

“For the purpose of biological recording Ireland is divided into 40 vice counties of roughly equal size”. For example Cavan is no. 30 and Leitrim is no 29. Antrim is 39 and Clare is no. 9 and includes the Aran Islands. Rubus ulmifolius can be found in the counties 1 – 40.

Other interesting tit bits about Rubus

Ruled by Venus and associated with Aries make the blackberry very  interesting astrologically.  Is a  bramble fair in love and war? I know I get covered in scratches removing them from around the trees but I do love bramble jam. Here is a lovely video on how to make wreaths from bramble stems from dear Paco. Just think this plant has been filling bellies since the earliest times. I spoke a bit in the last post about the habit of blackberries rooting by the tip. A stem which has rooted at both ends was seen as having special powers and used for ill and to cure by passing under the arch of it. Apparently in Wales, children with rickets would have to crawl under blackberry bushes 3 times a week. There must be some truth in it because that activity wouldn’t keep children occupied for long at all.

‘Mad Sweeney ‘ in the 9th century Irish legend Suibhne Geilt

O briar, little arched one

thou grantest no fair terms

thou ceasest not to tear me,

till thou hast thy fill of blood

Some photos of the other species found in Ireland all are native except for the salmonberry Rubus spectabilis

R. saxatilis, Stone bramble
R. spectabilis , Salmonberry, most likely introduced
R. chamaemorus, Cloudberry




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