Blooming profusely now is one of our most familiar wild flowers, namely the bramble or blackberry.

Its nectar-rich flowers provide a feeding bonanza for summer butterflies, bees and moths at night, all of which act as vital pollinators while feeding.

Although brambles may look identical to us, botanists estimate that there are as many as two thousand varieties. Later in summer, blackberries begin to ripen and then we can pick the rich harvest, taking care though to gather them above fox and dog level as both animals are also very partial to the berries.

After a while some blackberries begin to ferment and often attract speckled wood and red admiral butterflies extending their long proboces to sup up the juices.

There is a quaint old folk tale which advises us to pick blackberries before September 29th for after that date the devil apparently 'spits on them' ! However it isn't the devil who is the culprit but the flesh fly that dribbles on the mushy berries to liquefy them. Then along come wasps, more insects and a few birds attracted to the berries.

Throughout the year bramble leaves play host to the larvae of a leaf-mining moth. their white meandering trails etching the leaves as they feed.

Spiders weave their webs among the branches while the tangled stems make ideal nesting sites for some small birds including blackcaps and especially whitethroats.

So, the bramble is a truly bountiful bush for much of our wildlife and us too!

The photo shows a comma butterfly feeding on bramble in June.