Mixed Basket

I seem to have been away from WordPress for a long time, and the seasons have moved on. Autumn is my favourite time of year – it’s almost like a graduation ceremony for nature, where all the plants get to show the goods that their flowers and leaves have been producing during the summer.

Berries and seeds! Blackberries dot the brambles, at least until they find a higher calling as part of a blackberry and apple crumble.

Blackberries 8 Sept 19

They’re so abundant that there is plenty for both people and wildlife. Blackberries appeal to anything with a sweet tooth, including foxes, dormice and badgers. The parent plant is fantastically prickly but is actually more complex than it seems; there are about 300 micro-species of bramble in Britain alone.

Not that everything in the hedgerow is edible for mammals. Bryony berries have a sparkle, but are bitter and toxic.

Bryony berries 8 Sept 19

And on high chalky slopes grows the most infamous plant of them all: deadly nightshade or belladonna. Thankfully, its giant berries are unmistakable.

Deadly nightshade2 QH 4 Aug 19

On the other hand, hazelnuts are good for the health, and are readily consumed by nearly everything. Happily for mammal surveyors, the toothmarks on the nut show who has opened it. This one was chewed by a dormouse.

Dormouse hazelnut 16 Sept 2018

And, there are sloes, the fruit of the blackthorn tree, used for jellies and jam.

Sloes 8 Sept 19

It is good to reach autumn. Looking forward to seeing how the season unfolds.

11 thoughts on “Mixed Basket

    1. I suspect the wild ones do. Domestic pets, I’m not so sure about.

      Obviously with us local humans, knowledge is ideally passed down through the generations, but one has to hope that urban visitors realise that not all wild fruit is edible. There is a perception in some quarters that the UK’s countryside is ‘tamed’ but we do have a remarkable variety of dangerous plants, and not all of them have to be eaten to cause damage. Having skin contact with wild parsley sap or monkshood is best avoided.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Adele, lovely post! All the goodies nature offers us! And some not so good! We saw a huge wild Parsley a few weeks back. It was taller than me, with huge leaves. Most undesirable! But the Blackberries grow right across the road from us. They were nice and sweet this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you have any local thimbleberries? I remember eating those when I was on the island!
      Yes, anything in the parsley family needs to be treated with a bit of caution! We have hogweed here too.


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