Bumper Crop

Himalayan Blackberries

Photos by John F. Williams
It’s looking like it will be another year with a generous number of berries ripening on the vines. So I thought I’d take a look at that process. 
Below is a photographic life history of these common berries. In many areas this berry is considered a noxious weed and an invasive species.
I’ve also added a few other varieties of berries from our region at the end of this photo essay to help inspire you to keep your eyes out.

 

Berries don’t just pop out of a plant without any fanfare. Here’s a look at the early precursors of berries: the flowers. They begin as buds, their protective covering unfolds, then the petals open and expose the pollinating parts.

Click on a photo below to see the gallery full size.

Of course, the pollinating parts don’t do much good unless there is some mechanism to spread the pollen. Here is a sample of some of the creatures who do that for these blackberries.

Click on a photo below to see the gallery full size.
Watercolor by Stephanie Moret

Then the berries begin to grow, small at first, surrounded by the pollinating parts.

Click on a photo below to see the gallery full size.

All the berries don’t ripen at the same time, so there is a “season” of several weeks during which one can find ripe berries. This photo illustrates that early in the season, you can see berries in all stages of development, even quite close to each other.

And the berries don’t ripen for nothing. Over millennia, these plants have learned to manipulate humans and other animals to be attracted to the berries, to eat them, and to carry their seeds to new places [I’m paraphrasing Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire].

You can sometimes see evidence of this on the trails during berry season.

Click on a photo below to see the gallery full size.

Finally, here are some other types of berries found in our Salish Sea region. If you think that Salish Magazine should feature some (or all) of the berries (and other fruit?) that grow around here, let us know.

Click on a photo below to see the gallery full size.

FIND OUT MORE

SOME OTHER RESOURCES ESPECIALLY INTERESTING DURING THIS "STAY HOME" ERA

IslandWood's Phenology Friday

Each week, one of IslandWood’s educators will be sharing a phenological highlight. Watch the video of their explorations and then share your own observations with us using #PhenologyFriday!

Rediscovering Science with the WET Science Center

Date: June 19- August 31
Join the WET Science Center for science exploration with activities you can do at home! Every week there is a different theme to keep you curious about the world around you.
Recommended grades: Kindergarten – 7th grade.

Hakai Magazine

Hakai Magazine explores science, society, and the environment from a coastal perspective. Not only is its content instructive, but it's presentation is visually inspiring.

Pacific Wonder Tracker

Pacific Wonder Tracker celebrates the delicious sense of wonder we experience when exposed to the natural environment. It is also specific to the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest. Whether you live here, plan to visit, or just have a curious mental itch, you can enjoy reading about wonders you may encounter in coastal Washington and Oregon.

The Marine Detective

Jackie Hildering invites you to her blog: "Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there." But even before you get to the blog, on her home page there is a  slideshow of absolutely stunning photographs.

https://themarinedetective.com

Living on Earth

Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine. If you're looking for some substance beyond the normal focus of our media on sports, politics, fashion, and economy, listen to this show which does a great job of portraying earth ecosystems as something essential to our lives. The stories it tells are compelling.

Encyclopedia of Puget Sound
The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound is a comprehensive guide to the science of Salish Sea ecosystem recovery. Articles on this site describe the region's major environmental threats and areas of concern, but also the facts and stories that make the Salish Sea an estuary of international importance. The website is a product of the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute and receives major support from the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program.
Remote Science Learning

Use this guide to find science resources to supplement remote learning. Thurston County environmental organizations have developed activities for all ages. This resource is provided by the Thurston County ECO Network.

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