An ex­plo­sion of snow bombs

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - COUNTRYFILE - by Owen Leyshon of the Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Project

AS a child I re­mem­ber a cou­ple of plants I used to mess around with while walk­ing home from school. One was fuch­sia bushes and I would pick the red flow­ers, burst­ing the flower heads and strip­ping out the an­thers and petals. The other shrub I picked was what we call snow bombs, named af­ter the snow white round ber­ries hang­ing on the shrub in the mid­dle of win­ter. The rea­son for writ­ing about snow bombs at the mo­ment is firstly it is win­ter, but also I still see sev­eral plants grow­ing in gar­dens with the ber­ries still on in this mild win­ter. Snow­berry is a hardy shrub which has now es­caped into the wider Bri­tish coun­try­side. It is de­cid­u­ous, but the bright white ber­ries re­main through­out the win­ter, un­less we have par­tic­u­larly hard weather and the birds will start eat­ing them. It is also a plant which has been pop­u­lar for plant­ing as pheas­ant cover on shoot­ing es­tates and is usu­ally found along hedgerows and as cover in wood­land. While driv­ing through Nor­folk last sum­mer, snow­berry was very com­mon along the coun­try lanes as were the pheas­ants. In the early sum­mer small pink flow­ers ap­pear on the bush and then the ber­ries, which in Bri­tain rarely con­tain any ripe seeds. The plants tend to spread by the long suck­ers and are found spo­rad­i­cally across Kent.

If you have any ques­tions about Na­ture Notes call Owen Leyshon on 01797 367934 or visit www.rmcp.co.uk

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