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Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest

Briars

  • Rubus spp.
  • Blackberry, Black raspberry, Brambles, Dewberry, Jaggerbushes

Woody

Nest coverWinter cover Summer coverEscape coverFood
Several briar species grow tall canes

Several briar species grow tall canes that form large thickets of dense, prickly cover. Quail easily move about in the understory, but the interwoven canes guard against predator attacks.

Scott Sudkamp, Missouri Department of Conservation
 

Flowers

The briars exhibit numerous five-petaled white flowers from April through June. The same thorny canes that vex hikers and berry pickers provide ideal cover for quail.Scattered briar thickets are a good choice for quail managers who want to provide year-round cover and a valuable summer food source.

Robert H. Mohlenbrock, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Flower cane

Primary canes of most blackberry species exhibit leaves with five leaflets, while flower canes (here) have three leaflets. Fruits ripen to a deep purple or black and provide quail a source of both food and water.

©Ted Bodner, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Description

Briars are erect shrubs growing to 2 feet tall in hard, dry pastures or occasionally branching to 8 feet in close colonies on better soils. The twigs and trunks are ribbed with numerous straight or recurved prickles. Flowers are white, blooming from April to June. The large, sweet fruits mature from June to August.

Bloom period

April to June

Use by bobwhites

Briars provide food for many species of small mammals and birds, including bobwhites. Adults and chicks eat the fruit and insects that occur on the fruit. Large brambles provide summer loafing cover and year-round escape cover. Quail nests are often found in grass clumps under brambles. Habitat managers should avoid planting Himalaya blackberry, an exotic species that grows quickly in dense colonies and can quickly take over a pasture, reducing the amount of usable space for bobwhites.
 

 

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MP903 Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest | Page 9 | University of Missouri Extension