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Bramble – Rubus ulmifolius – L-Għollieq

Bramble – Rubus ulmifolius – L-Għollieq

The bramble is a common spiny brambly shrub which can reach a height of about 3 m. It prefers moist soil, and can grow in full shaded, semi-shade, or no shade at all, and thus can be found growing in forests, riparian habitats, freshwater wetlands, stream sides, agricultural areas, and also margins of meadows.

The stems of the bramble grow in a low-arching form. They are whitish becoming reddish and sharply angled. Stout, erect to slightly hooked thorns on angles grow along the velvety stems of young saplings.

Bramble leaves are compound leaves, having the form of a palm, with 3 to 5 leaflets. These are green from the upper side, but because of a dense layer of wooly hairs, they appear white on the underside. The largest leaves at the tip of the stems are usually 3 to 5.5 cm long and 1 to 3 cm wide.

Bramble flowers are usually pink, but sometimes they are white, with 8 to 15 mm long and 4 to 12 mm wide petals, looking slightly crumpled. These can be seen from April to October.

Fertilised flowers produce a small head of little, one-seeded compound fruit. Initially these are green, becoming red when ripe and mature to dark purple or almost black. The fruit is soft, juicy and sweet.

Bramble fruit is sometimes considered as a food-medicine. Parts of the plants are used medicinally and liquer is made from the fruit and used against digestive ailments. Decoctions are also made from parts of the bramble and used as medicine.

Furthermore, parts of the bramble are used for food and drink too.

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