Sunday, May 24, 2009

Salmonberries

Picture with bee taken by my 13 year old daughter at Point Defiance Park on May 15, 2009:
Back on May 15th during our nature walk at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA, we saw some pretty pinkish purple flowers on a bush. It was a bush that produced a type of berry, but the berry we saw was still green at the time, and we didn't know what kind of berry it was. The flowers sure were pretty, though!

Then we saw the same type of bushes again on May 23rd while we were walking along a trail at Kobahashi Park in University Place, WA, and this time some of the berries were ripening into a pretty yellow color tinged with pink. I looked it up in Plants Of The Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska and found out they are salmonberries.

Here is some information from Wikipedia's page on salmonberries:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmonberry

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.[1][2]

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 (Alnus rubra).


Salmonberry shares the fruit structure of the raspberry, with the fruit pulling away from its receptacle. Books often call the fruit "insipid"[3] but depending on ripeness and site, they are good eaten raw and when processed into jams, candies, jellies and wines.

They are important food for Native Americans. 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.


We haven't tasted one yet, but I am hoping to taste one after they ripen a little more.

Picture taken May 15, 2009, at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA:


Picture taken May 15, 2009, at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA:


Picture taken May 23, 2009, at Kobayashi Park in University Place, WA:


Picture taken May 23, 2009, at Kobayashi Park in University Place, WA:


Edited to add: Up above I quoted Wiki's page that said that in "Washington State the berries can ripen from mid-June to late-July." Well, it appears that they can also ripen in late May. It must really depend on where they are. Perhaps how much sun they get? Here are some pictures taken at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge on May 25, 2009.

This picture was taken near the visitor center:


This picture was also taken near the visitor center; there are salmonberries in the foreground:


This was taken while on the Twin Barns Loop Trail. We saw a lot of ripe ones there!

1 comment:

  1. Very informative! Just what I was looking for. The photos were perfect in helping to identify the plant/berry. Thank you so much!

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