thorns, birds, wild berries and ecologies

by Caro
(Cape Town)

wild berries, thorns and birds

wild berries, thorns and birds

Carissa bispinosa, a delicious South African fruit, like a plum but very tart with milky sap, bears horrific thorns. I never expected my bushes to grow so big, and one day I found my neighbour, seen in the background of this picture, pruned the hedge back. In the middle of it she found a large bird's nest and decided not to prune anymore, to preserve the nest. After we cleared away all the difficult to work with thorny branches I thought I'd better take a pic of the bird's nest. It is very interesting to me that it was concealed in the dense hedge of thorns, less than a metre away from areas where cats play and people and noisy vehicles pass in the street constantly. I am amazed that a bird could feel safe enough to raise young in such a locality. Perhaps it is because thorny bushes with berries offer birds both food and protection. There is an ecological result brought about by these thorns. The bird's droppings bring seeds from other fruit bearing plants and these are scattered around the thorn clump. In the wild this bush could have formed the startup for a future wild fruit forest. Here in this situation, it is merely a meditation on what could have been. I've been discussing this thorn-bird-berry-forest ecology interaction as a possible dynamic just this week with someone very interested in forest regeneration, namely my mother, and this illustration popped up simultaneously.

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