Phenology Files: July 2021

phenology  \ fi-ˈnä-lə-jē \ n 1 : a branch of science dealing with the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena (such as bird migration or plant flowering) 2 : periodic biological phenomena that are correlated with climatic conditions.

It’s easy to curse the trailing blackberry if you’ve tripped over one of its low-growing vines, but easy to love it when it’s made into pie or mixed into a cobbler. In fact, this tart fruity member of the rose family is best picked right off one of its prickly stems, warmed by the sun, and popped into your mouth.

Don’t confuse the trailing blackberry with its invasive relative, the Himalayan blackberry (Rubus bifrons), which was introduced from Europe in the late nineteenth century and has been aggressively spreading throughout the West Coast ever since. The Himalayan blackberry is considered a Class C noxious weed, and is among the most tenacious invasive plants the Land Trust removes from conservation areas.

Once of the easiest ways to distinguish the trailing blackberry from the Himalayan is by looking at their leaves: the trailing blackberry has three pointed leaves on a thin stem, while the Himalayan blackberry has thick ridged canes and five rounded leaves.

Trailing blackberry (Rubus ursinus)/Courtney Bornsworth

Himalayan blackberry (Rubus bifrons)/Washington State University

Have you observed a plant, a natural event, or wildlife that reminded you of why you love where you live? Please share it by emailing a photo to