As we head into the middle of summer, keep an eye out in the woods for ripening blackberries.
The common blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis) grows as a shrub with branches reaching five-feet in height and eight-feet in length and arching high or being supported by surrounding trees or shrubs.
The canes, or branches, grow green to reddish in their first year, and develop broad-based, recurved thorns. In the canes’ subsequent years of growth, they will turn brown and produce clusters of white flowers from April to June.
Flowers begin to yield deep violet-to-black, glossy, sweet, juicy, globe-shaped berries from late June through August.
Look for blackberry shrubs in rocky, open woods, along bluffs and fence-rows, on glades and in thickets, old fields, and open valleys.
The berries are edible right off the cane, but also make great preserves, and pie-fillings.
Learn more about blackberries, and other Missouri wild edibles, with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online Field Guide.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.