Blackberries (the plant, not the phone), are an invasive, non-native plant that has become so entrenched in New World ecosystems that many of us would be hard put to imagine the wild without them. The dark compound-seeded fruits, formed of clusters of mini-fruits called drupelets, are easy picking. Sweet, tart, and with a heady fragrance, they are enjoyed by humans and wildlife alike.
Blackberries extend their range through two primary methods. The first method is through runners. A biennial plant, the first year's canes form a basis for the second year's growth, which will combine both fruiting canes and underground runners establishing new plants. The original plant will die at the end of the second year, but the colonized plants will survive and continue the expansion.
The second method of spreading is by seed. Every drupelet of a compound fruit contains a seed, and the fruits are very much loved by birds and mammals alike. The main way seeds are spread is through animals eating them, digesting them, and then excreting them.
By using two different methods of dispersal, one asexual producing clone plants, and one sexual and producing new genetic combinations, blackberries provide themselves with superb techniques to survive and adapt.
About the Author
Peg Robinson's first sale was in Pocket Books' 1999 "Strange New Worlds." Her credits include award-winning "Helixsf," and "Cicada Magazine." Her novela, "Tonino and the Incubus," qualified for the 2007 Nebulas. She graduated with honors in religious studies from UCSB. She's currently in an M.A./Ph.D. program in mythological studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute.