Other than, perhaps, the leaves on the trees starting to turn colour what more potent reminder that autumn is fast approaching is there than clusters of blackberries in the hedgerows? The blackberry is, of course, the fruit of the bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.).
We must surely all be familiar with the blackberry, indeed there can be few of us that have not picked the odd one as we walk along country lanes and footpaths and it is almost a national pass time to go blackberrying with the family, probably the inspiration for the surge in pick-your-own farms back in the eighties which are something of a thing of the past now, just a very few remaining here in Dorset.
Although we call the shrubs 'bramble' and the fruits 'blackberries' as if they are of one species this is actually not so. There are many varieties of bramble which are recognised sub-species and that is why some blackberries look more inviting than others, they are a different sub-species. This is also why the scientific name has 'agg' after it; the 'agg' is an abbreviation 'aggregation' or, in other words, the adding together of all the sub-species into an aggregated species collection. Telling these sub-species apart is a challenge for anyone but a specialist.
The blackberry must be our most common autumn fruit and it is popular with wildlife as well as humans. If you look closely you will often see insects on the fruits, especially greenbottles that were on that nearby heap of dog poo just a few minutes ago. Anyone fancy a wild blackberry straight from the bush?