Rubus pensilvanicus
Vine, Perennial
Blooming: March, April, white
Location: N30 00.381′  W084 33.587′ (1.9RL)  N30 00.559′ W084 34.018′ (2.9RL),N30 00.405′ W084 33.696′ (2.1RL)

Blackberries, widely distributed throughout the world, have been an early  food source for humans.   It is nutritious, high in antioxidents (for cardiovascular health) and good sources of anthocyanins, salicyclic acid (may act like aspirin), ellagic acid (reduces tumors in mice), and fiber.   It is high in Vitamin  C.

Pollinators include bees, butterflies and other insects.  It is a larval host of the striped hairstreak and several species of moths.  The fruit are eaten by many species of birds and the thicket provides shelter for them.  Other animals also feed on the fruit and leaves.

The fruit is on second year canes of the plant.  There are large stands of blackberries throughout the creek and when the fruits are ripening are within arm’s reach (the branches are prickly) of your boat.  Don’t be startled if you see a water snake also enjoying the sun on the blackberry brambles.   They are not venomous and will probably remain still as you pick the berries without abrupt movement.   Being forewarned may prevent a capsize.

These are the birds which eat the fruit of blackberries as compiled by the Illinois Wildflower Information:  ruffed grouse, ring-necked pheasant, greater prairie chicken, wild turkey, bobwhite, woodcock, passenger pigeon (extinct), northern flicker crow, fish crow, blue jay, crested flycatcher, kingbird, phoebe, grackle, redwing blackbird, rusty blackbird, northern mockingbird, brown thrasher, cedar waxwing, robin, cardinal, catbird, Baltimore oriole, orchard oriole, eastern bluebird, veery, hermit thrush, gray-cheeked thrush, Swainson’s thrush, wood thrush, scarlet tanager, summer tanager, red-eyed towhee, white-eyed vireo, yelllow-breasted chat, rose-breasted grosbeak, tufted titmouse, Henslow sparrow, song sparrow, fox sparrow and white-throated sparrow.