[nafex] salmonberry

Mark Lee mark.lee.phd at gmail.com
Fri Apr 4 15:30:18 EDT 2014

Salmonberries are native to my area. I didn't plant my patch. I have
lived in the same place for decades, and only recently did salmonberry
spring up. I assume it was planted by birds that pooped out the seeds.
Mine are orange, but in the woods I see yellow, orange, and red. The
blossoms are typically magenta. The flavor is not strong, but it is
pleasant. Not very sweet. Kind of watery. I am not aware of any
improved varieties. I can send seeds to anyone who wants to try
growing salmonberries.

I have some salmonberry facts listed on my edible landscaping website:

Many parts of this plant are edible. The flavor of the berries are
often called "insipid". They do have a sublte flavor that improves
over its ripening season with exposure to higher temperatures. The
berries have a range of colors from yellow, to orange, to red. Plants
for a Future cites other edible uses for the Salmonberry plant. Young
shoots - peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. This is true
for other Rubus, including blackberry, raspberry and thimbleberry. The
shoots are harvested in the spring as they grow above the soil and
while they are still tender. Native people cooked the shoots over
coals in a firepit. Flowers are eaten raw, such as in a salad. The
leaves are used as a tea substitute, either fresh or dried. Be sure to
dry completely because wilted leaves may contain toxins. OregonLive
says Salmonberry leaves make delicious tea, especially when mixed with
fresh strawberry leaves.

How about Salmonberry Wine? At $23 per bottle online, it must be good.
Here is a description, "A semi-dry wine made from wild salmonberries,
handpicked on Kodiak Island. This wine's tantalizing bouquet offers
spicy tones of cinnamon, clove and vanilla. Fruity and medium-bodied,
this wine balances the rich sweetness of the salmonberry with a
pomegranate, butter and vanilla finish." Really? guess I will have to
try making that myself. One of the most creative uses of Salmonberries
is to turn the juice into mead.

-Mark Lee, Seattle, yellow jackets and flies busy pollinating jostaberry

On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 11:10 AM, Mike Levine <mlevine at umich.edu> wrote:
> I'm growing curious about salmonberries.  Are there any cultivars
> available?  Are there any thornless ones?  How do the fruit taste?  Would
> they likely be invasive in SE Michigan (they can get 10' tall) or do they
> mostly stay in bounds?
> Are the berries yellow, orange, or red?  It seems like there is some
> variability in the descriptions I'm finding.
> I've seen these cultivar names, but can't find any nurseries that carry
> them.  I can only seem to find the species:
> Golden Ruby
> Olympic Double
> Flore Pleno (reported by some to be the same as Olympic Double)
> Thanks!
> Mike Levine
> Ann Arbor, MI
> Zone 5b
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