Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wild Berry Season: Watch out for one super berry!

photo by Jonathan Schechter

This is the season of the wild black raspberry and the juicy mulberry, two berries I search out on every hike I take in southern Michigan.  It's a good hike when I return with fingers and tounge stained purple. Those are favorite berries of birds and more than a few mammals. 

And we are also in the season of clusters of small greenish-white berries, a super hardy berry often found dangling down from leafy vines along trails, fence rows, poles and large hardwoods at the edge of fields. Those too are favorites of birds. They are not favorites of mine.

The Summer of 2011 is turning out to be a banner year for poison ivy and a bumper crop of this scourge (as far as humans are concerned) is heavy with fruit to ensure new plants in new locations next season. Many scientists believe posion ivy is becoming a super plant nourished by more than rains and warmth. Rising levels of carbon dioxide is a new catalyst.  
Co2 behaves like a growth hormone for poison ivy.
Call the super ivy a give back from Mother Nature under attack.
 At this writing the berries are mostly green, but by August they take on a greenish-white hue.  Bird's love'em and eat'em and when they poop the seeds out they spread'em far and wide.  

A word of caution: If you think posion ivy is just a ground hugging plant think again.  In Oakland County many of the vines are already over twenty feet high as the climb trees in search of sunlight, and the berry-heavy branchlets are at face-slapping level.
A gift for birds. A hazard for humans that don't know their berries.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just had black raspberries today on one of my favorite trails! Made a great hike even better . . .

July 6, 2011 at 12:13 PM 
Blogger Ulanawa said...

Been enjoying the wild raspberries just this week. And you are right ... I have seen more poison ivy this year than I ever have!

July 8, 2011 at 7:09 AM 

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