|Toothed leaves of MF - Illinoiswildflowers|
|Gooseberry stem - llinoiswildflowers|
The Illinois Wildflower insect table is particularly valuable in finding the gooseberry's value in nature as measured by what eats it. There are diverse species listed including my favorite the sumac flea beetle. "Value" is a rather artificial concept we bipeds define, trying to quantify the complex interrelation of plants and animals.
"We" arrived on the continent 9,000+ years ago, making some minor modifications. Then the second wave of "us" from Europe in the 1500s brought the Columbian Exchange, upsetting a balance of nature that was doing quite well without our interference. While many species were brought for food or comfort, others like multiflora rose were an attempt to add beauty.
|Multiflora rose berries and prickles|
* We discussed thorns vs. prickles in a 2013 blog and nothing has changed since then. The short answer is that armature describes a sharp pointed appendage and includes thorns, spines and prickles.
- Thorns - a sharp pointed modified stem.
- Spine - a sharp pointed structure that is a modified leaf or stipule (outgrowth on the side of a leaf stalk (petiole).
- Prickle - a sharp outgrowth of the epidermis or bark.
Our friend Amy raised the question of why the "goose" in gooseberry. It appears that no one knows but there are lots of speculation about the corruption of foreign words in this wide spread fruit, including several "saucy" possibilities mentioned in Wikipedia.
Kentucky University publication describes the thorns, spines and prickles.
llinoiswildflowers has good information on gooseberry as well as virtually any plant in Missouri.