MERRY BERRY

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild December -

The at­trac­tive or­ange berries of this spiny, coastal shrub de­velop in au­tumn, but are of­ten still on the branches well into De­cem­ber. They’re highly acidic, so birds tend to eat them as a last re­sort when other fruits – such as hips, haws and sloes – have been gob­bled up. In par­tic­u­larly cold spells though, they pro­vide an im­por­tant food source for win­ter­ing field­fares and red­wings. The first frosts can cause the berries to fer­ment so birds that gorge on them be­come ‘drunk’.

FIND OUT MORE Dis­cover more about Bri­tish plants at www.plantlife.org.uk/wild_­plants

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