Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Explore Outdoors ~ A thorny issue


Check out those thorns. Yikes!
This barberry is invading forest understory in our area. It grows long, thin stems bearing single (and very sharp) thorns. A long time ago, people planted Japanese barberries as a "living fence", similar to why they planted multiflora rose. But the plants have escaped their bounds, spread by animals and birds that eat the seeds.

Grouse eat barberries, as do pheasants and cedar waxwings. But they'd prefer other fruits, such as rose hips and winterberries. Apparently they eat barberries only when other foods are scarce. Looking at those long, sharp thorns, I can see why!

This week take a look at berries on the plants that live around you. Just don't snack on any because some berries are poisonous to people.

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