The Herald - - OPINION -

re­ferred to as a black­berry. This us­age seems to date from the 19th cen­tury. Ear­lier Scots ci­ta­tions for bram­ble re­fer to the plant; the 16th-cen­tury Scots poet Gavin Dou­glas, in his trans­la­tion of the Aeneid, refers to “the berreis of the brym­myll” as “wrachit fude”.

The term bram­ble for the fruit seems to be fairly wide­spread in Scot­land, re­plac­ing many nine­teenth-cen­tury lo­cal terms such as black­blut­ter, bum­blekites and scald­ber­ries – all La­nark­shire us­ages. Other words for bram­bles in­clude drum­lie-droits and drum­liedrut­shocks (Kin­ross and Perthshire), and black­byde, recorded in di­alects from west-cen­tral Scot­land, in­clud­ing Ayr­shire, La­nark­shire, Ren­frew­shire and Glas­gow.

There are su­per­sti­tions re­lat­ing to bram­bles. The great Vic­to­rian di­alec­tol­o­gist Joseph Wright records a tra­di­tion that bram­bles aren’t to be eaten af­ter Michael­mas (Septem­ber 29) cause the devil is sup­posed to have “waved his club” over the bushes.

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