Nature on our doorsteps - Fruitful blackberry harvest this year

By Rosaleen O'Dwyer

Rosaleen Dwyer is the County Heritage Officer at South Dublin County Council – every week she gives us an insight into the natural heritage around us and the beautiful biodiversity of the plants and creatures

It has been a great year for blackberries.

Warm weather with plenty of sunshine and rain during the summer months produced big, juicy blackberries from as early as the beginning of August.

Blackberries are full of nutritional goodness. compressor

Blackberries are full of nutritional goodness

Apart from being very tasty, blackberries are full of nutritional goodness.

They are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants and are rich in minerals like magnesium and potassium.

Weight for weight, they are also said to be a higher source of dietary fibre than wholemeal bread.

Consuming this goodness as the colder days of autumn approach helps us to build up our resistance against winter colds and flus.

While there are still many berries sitting on blackberry’s thorny stems in mid-October, the fruit is mostly past its best at this time of the year.

Butterflies like this Small Copper will visit as blackberries continue to ripen compressor

Butterflies like this Small Copper will visit as blackberries continue to ripen

The berries do not taste as sweet and fresh to us as they did in August and September.

This, however, does not stop the other creatures in Nature that will continue to feed on blackberries for a while yet.

Insects like wasps or butterflies will visit to sip on the juice of over-ripe berries while birds, foxes, hedgehogs, and squirrels will also enjoy them.

Importantly for the blackberry bush though, birds and animals also perform a vital dispersal job, spreading blackberry seeds far and wide in their droppings.

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