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Scientific Name:Rubus spectabilis
Common Name(s): Salmonberry
Parts Used: stem, fruit
oneraindog 3 Jun, 2009
Perennial shrub to 1–4 m tall, woody stems (unlike other species). The leaves are trifoliate, 7–22 cm long, the terminal leaflet larger than the two side leaflets. Leaf margins are toothed. The flowers are 2–3 cm diameter, with five purple petals; they are produced from early spring to early summer. The fruit matures in late summer to early autumn, and resembles a large yellow to orange-red raspberry 1.5-2 cm long with many drupelets.
In Washington State the berries can ripen from mid-June to late-July.
Salmonberries are found in moist forests and stream margins, especially in the coastal forests. They often form large thickets, and thrive in the open spaces under stands of Red Alder
In Kodiak, Alaska orange salmonberries are often referred to as "Russian berries"
Salmonberry shares the fruit structure of the raspberry, with the fruit pulling away from its receptacle. Books often call the fruit "insipid" but depending on ripeness and site, they are good eaten raw and when processed into jams, candies, jellies and wines.
Both the large, raspberry-like fruit and the young shoots were widely eaten by coastal peoples of British Columbia and western Washington. It is one of the numerous berries gathered to incorporate into pemmican. It is said that the name came about because of the First Nations' fondness for eating the berries with half-dried salmon roe.
Young growing sprouts are harvested from April to early June. Snap off with the fingers before they become woody, then peel, and eat raw or they can be cooked, steamed or Boiled. Sprouts are also tied in bundles and pit-cooked. Traditionaly they have been eaten with seal oil or ooligan grease, and, more recently, with sugar and served as an accompaniment to dried salmon or meat. Some Nuu-chah-nulth people boiled the leaves with fish as a flavoring. The Kaigani Haida used the leaves to line baskets, wipe fish, and cover food in steaming pits.
Salmonberry has an astringent quality in the bark and leaves. The leaves can be chewed and spit on to burns. In winter when the leaves are not obtainable the bark may be used instead. Another use for the bark is to pound it soft and lay it on an aching tooth or a festering wound to kill the pain. The Quinault indians boil the bark in seawater, and the brew is drank to lessen labor pains and to clean infected wounds, especially burns.