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Blackberries

As white as snow, but snow it is not.
As red as blood, but blood it is not.
As black as ink, but ink it is not.
(Traditional Scottish riddle)

 

Answer: The Blackberry

(Rubus fruticosis)

White flowers. Red, unripe fruit. Black, delectable berries! Blackberries have a long and colourful history as a food, in fibre arts and in folklore.

The traditional "bramble" from fairy-tales, Blackberries have been used as magical barricades by many a sorceress. In real Scottish folk-magic, a braid of blackberry, rowan (ash tree) and ivy over your door will protect your home from malevolent spirits and bad luck.  

Crushed blackberries can be used to dye wool, linen and cotton and offer a light purple, almost lilac-like hue. If you're a wool-nut, you may want to check out this great tutorial on Instructables.com. You can also use mashed blackberries to dye eggs in the Spring.

Blackberries are very high in vitamin C and antioxidants. We offer the thornless "Chester" as well as the more traditional, and spiky, "Hardy Black". Both are highly productive and excellent hardy varieties for our northern climate.