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 fencerows, 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.