Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bramble On

I was stunned to come upon this lovely creature, so vibrantly green, at this time of year. A solitary red cane hosting leaves solely at its tip. And, it was the only one to be found.

Like so many plants that I am discovering, I am humbled so say that I have little idea on identification. My meager but growing library does help and I realize that I need many more books. The web, often useful, can be a source of misinformation and one bad apple can often find its way copied all around.

It's often been written and I am coming to understand that the best tools for identifying plants are the line drawings. These illustrations bring out the key features that provide for me the aha! experience. Imagine how the illustrator artist has to know just what is important and how to present it with just a few perfectly placed marks of ink of paper. Such talent is a true treasure.

This little fellow looks to be a Black Raspberry, Rubus occidentalis. I'm having difficulty coming up with enough identifying characteristics of the brambles, so this will have to do for now, although why do I keep seeing a rosebush?

Happy New Year!


  1. and a Happy New year to you..I am so intereseted in what you say about line drawings I have always thought( having had to do them in the past ) that they are under rated. I understand that the real botanical illustrators have to study many different samples of one plant to iron out the quirks and find a kind of average. Which is fine if one finds an average sample to identify! I found when I started the blog that I never seemed to find an average leaf or flower. I would have a much tougher time without the labels at Leu!!

  2. I am enjoying "A Guide to Wildflowers in Winter" by Carol Levine and illustrated by Dick Rauh. Lots of line drawings with stippling, which I prefer to hatching. As the title says, the drawings are taken from wintered plants--withered leaves and dried seed pods.

    I find that these line drawings isolate the essence of the plant. Now if I could only figure out my mystery shrub! I stopped to look at it on my way to work today, taking the time to notice how the stems curve, and noticed how my eye is learning to isolate the essential features. I will endure and try to remember to enjoy my frustration in plant identification. After all, it's all part of the fun!