Salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis
Rosaceae – Rose family
There are at least two explanations for the common name and both appear to have merit. The tender green shoots of salmonberry were cooked by Native people and eaten with salmon. The ripe berries are variable in color, often bright orange-yellow but also red to salmon in color. The generic name means “red.” The five bright red-pink petals of salmonberry blossoms are an early spring-time spectacle (“spectabilis”) against the background of burgeoning green foliage.
Salmonberry prefers wetter areas such as along streambanks, near seeps, and in the mist of waterfalls. In winter, the leafless tan stems stand forlornly, the older stems bare and younger stems thorned. But when spring arrives, the stems burst forth with a flourish of leaves and blossoms. Each leaf is divided into three leaflets that in turn are lobed with toothed margins. Through spring and summer the showy pink-red blossoms transform into succulent orange-yellow berries. The berries were eaten fresh by Native people, but were considered too soft for drying. Salmonberry spreads in a raspberry-like manner by underground stems (5-67).
Information courtesy of “The View From Springbrook Park; an Illustrated Natural History” by Ed Chinn.
Photos taken by Laura Tanz
Sponsored by Friends of Springbrook Park; Lake Oswego, OR