Salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis) are a type of fruit. They are in the rose family Rosaceae They are native and widespread in areas of Alaska, predominantly the southeast. They come in red and orange varieties. They fruit in early summer and are used by many to make jams, juices, and other such products. They are considered to be a weed and reproduce and spread rapidly. The berries can be eaten raw, straight from the source. They co-exist with huckleberries, blueberries, thimbleberries, and other such plants in the Tongass National Forest. This attractive native bramble shrub is the favourite of hummingbirds and was highly esteemed by Coastal Natives. Growing fast and erect, bushes reach 6' with a 6' spread.
The large, reddish-purple flowers give way to yellow-rose tinted, edible berries. Their taste varies radically from bush to bush.
Salmonberry is found in open forest areas, in sun or part shade, usually following a disturbance.
Hardy from USDA zone 5-9, Salmonberry grows along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to California. The first sight of the nodding, cupped flowers on the Salmonberry bushes signals the return of the Rufous hummingbird.
The males arrive first and spend many weeks defending their territory, even viciously, against other males (and humans!). Then the females join them, flying as much as 5,000 miles from their wintering grounds. Salmonberry can be found in USDA zones 5 – 9, from southern Alaska to California and scattered throughout the areas west of the Coast and Cascade Mountains. Salmonberry occurs in moist forest openings and disturbed sites at elevations below 3000’. It can tolerate light shade, however, its prevalence decreases as the forest canopy closes and deep shade develops. Before consuming any wild plant be absolutely certain that you have properly identified the plant. It is best to observe a plant through several seasons and stages of growth to be certain you have the correct plant.
Use extreme caution in preparation as many wild plants have toxic parts (for example, the roots may be poisonous but not the leaves of some species) and check with a health care professional before using any wild plant medicinally.
Lastly, do not over-harvest: leave ample fruit for reseeding and wildlife food.
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