Is it a weed?

Recently, I spent a night in the bush. A cabin on a farm provided nominal shelter, as humans had not used it for a while. Nature was in residence with weeds making their way across the paved floor and more rodent and bat poo than seemed healthy.

After a little time sweeping out, we took a stroll down to a nearby creek in the hope there was a good swimming hole. A dead fish lying belly up put us off the best spot, so we cooled our feet in the running water near the bank.

As we sat and contemplated we grabbed handfuls of wild blackberries.

The spot was shady, the water running free and the berries as sweet as great-grandmas jam.

Small insectivorous birds were flying in and out of the blackberry thicket, happy to find cover and foraging space.

We sat for half an hour in that idyllic spot. The conversation turned to why the conventional conservation wisdom would have the blackberry bush ripped out. For this was an Australian creek and blackberries (the Rubus fruticosus group) are declared a Weed of National Significance with strategic plans for eradication and control.

Meantime, back at home; my wife had purchased two punnets of blackberries form the grocer for $4. I tasted one of these berries from the store. It looked perfect but compared to those by the creek it was bland and lifeless.

Makes you think.

M

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