At this time of year, Nature adorns her shrubs and bushes with exquisite baubles of bright red berries, in this case the fruits of Black bryony (Tamus communis).
The name ‘bryony’ is entirely appropriate for this plant as it comes from the Greek word bruein which, apparently, means ‘to be full to bursting’. However, though the berries of Black bryony (Tamus communis) are cherry-red and luscious-looking, please don’t be tempted to eat them as they are deadly poisonous.
There are, in fact, two plants with the bryony name in Britain, White bryony and Black, but they are not part of the same plant family. Rather surprisingly, Black bryony is the only member of the yam family to grow here but, again, don’t be tempted to eat its roots. In spring and summer, Black bryony’s long tangling vines can be found rambling over, under and through the shrubs and bushes of hedgerows and scrub-lands, and in autumn and winter, though the heart-shaped leaves brown and drop, the masses of red berries brighten up the countryside for many months.
I’ve been planning a ‘berry’ blog for a while and have been photographing all the lovely berries I’ve seen while out on my wanders but then, in the process of collecting together my various photos for this blog, I began to wonder what actually is a berry? Is a berry a fruit? Should I include hips and haws? Should I only include the fruits of those plants that have berry in their name? At that point, I gave up and decided a berry by any other name would look as pretty and I would include all the lovely reddish-coloured things I’ve seen growing on assorted trees, bushes and plants, whether they be berries, drupes, hips, haws, pomes, or just plain fruit. So here you go …