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Salmonberries

Native Pacific Northwest berry

Known to botanists as Rubus spectabilis, the Salmonberry is Pacific Northwest native. In some ways, the Salmonberry seems to be a botanical touchstone for the Pacific Northwest, since it's a native resident found from Northern California's Santa Cruz county, north up to Alaska, then east towards Idaho and Montana. In Washington state, the Salmonberry especially thrives west of the Cascades. It's a low shrub, with thorns, fond of roadsides, underbrush, and swampy areas. It's especially tolerant of shade and wet conditions. Although the Salmonberry is fairly easy to propagate, its native habit is rapidly being overgrown by the non-native intrusive Himalayan Blackberry.

The Salmonberry is named for its blossom; a lovely rich pink, or for the use of the berries

 as an additive to salmon roe. The fruit, which much resembles raspberries, can be both a pinkish-red or a light orange when ripe. They can be picked and eaten right off the bush; they have delicate subtle flavor, usually more sour than sweet, but are also used to make jams and jellies. Indigenous First Nations peoples used Salmonberries in jerky, as an accompaniment with fresh or smoked Salmon as well as mixing them with fresh Salmon roe. They tend to be fragile, so if you're piking them for consumption later, be aware that the fresh berries are easily crushed. Salmonberries are also used to make wine—both homemade and commercial wines. You can also make fresh Salmonberry pie, or Salmonberry jam, as a garnish over ice creame or yogurt, or in a salad, or even Salmonberry salsa with Salmon.