Rubus spectabilis

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Salmonberry with leaves.jpg
Rubus spectabilis 2566.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
R. spectabilis
Binomial name
Rubus spectabilis
Pursh 1813 not E.James 1825 nor Mercier 1861[1]
  • Parmena spectabilis (Pursh) Greene
  • Rubus franciscanus Rydb.
  • Rubus spectabilis var. franciscanus (Rydb.) J.T.Howell
  • Rubus spectabilis var. menziesii (Hook.) S.Watson
  • Rubus stenopetalus Cham.

Rubus spectabilis, the salmonberry, is a species of bramble in the rose family Rosaceae, native to the west coast of North America from west central Alaska to California, inland as far as Idaho.[2][3][4]


Rubus spectabilis is a shrub growing to 1–4 m (3–13 ft) tall, with perennial (not biennial) woody stems that are covered with fine prickles. The leaves are trifoliate (with three leaflets), 7–22 cm (3–8+12 in) long, the terminal leaflet larger than the two side leaflets. The leaf margins are toothed. The flowers are 2–3 cm (341+14 in) in diameter, with five pinkish-purple petals; they are produced from early spring to early summer. The berries ripen from early May to late July in most of the Pacific Northwest (later in cooler climates), and resemble large shiny yellow to orange-red blackberries 1.5–2 cm (1234 in) long with many drupelets.[5][6] These are eaten by many birds and other animals.[7]

Salmonberries are found in moist forests and stream margins, especially in the coastal areas. In open areas they often form large thickets, and thrive in the open spaces under stands of red alder (Alnus rubra).

A similar species from Japan, the red-flowered raspberry (ベニバナイチゴ) was once considered its subspecies as R. spectabilis subsp. vernus. It is now reclassified as Rubus vernus.[8]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Salmonberries are edible and share the fruit structure of the raspberry, with the fruit pulling away from its receptacle.[9][10] The fruit has been referred to as "insipid",[11] but depending on ripeness and site, they are good eaten raw – whether red or golden[9] – and when processed into jam, candy, jelly and wine. Native American people and early explorers also ate the young shoots.[12] Traditionally, the berries were eaten with salmon or mixed with oolichan grease or salmon roe. They were not dried because of their high moisture content.[11]

It is widely grown as an ornamental plant for its flowers,[9][13][14] with a double-flowered clone identified in Washington and British Columbia.[15] R. spectabilis has escaped cultivation and become naturalized in parts of northwestern Europe, including Great Britain, Ireland and the Faroe Islands.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b "Rubus spectabilis Mercier — The Plant List".
  2. ^ "Biota of North America Program 2014 state-level distribution map".
  3. ^ "Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map".
  4. ^ Calflora taxon report, University of California, Rubus spectabilis Pursh, salmon berry, salmonberry
  5. ^ "Plants of British Columbia: Rubus spectabilis". Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  6. ^ "Jepson Flora: Rubus spectabilis". Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Whitney, Stephen (1985). Western Forests (The Audubon Society Nature Guides). New York: Knopf. p. 419. ISBN 978-0-394-73127-8.
  8. ^ Naruhashi, Naruhito (June 15, 1980). "Rubus vernus FOCKE and R. spectabilis PURSH". The Journal of Phytogeography and Taxonomy (The Journal of Geobotany). 28: 13 – via ISSN 0388-6212.
  9. ^ a b c Mosquin, Daniel (23 May 2015). "Rubus spectabilis". University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  10. ^ Fagan, Damian (2019). Wildflowers of Oregon: A Field Guide to Over 400 Wildflowers, Trees, and Shrubs of the Coast, Cascades, and High Desert. Guilford, CT: FalconGuides. p. 222. ISBN 978-1-4930-3633-2. OCLC 1073035766.
  11. ^ a b Pojar, Jim; Andy MacKinnon (2004). Plants Of The Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska. Lone Pine Publishing. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-55105-530-5.
  12. ^ Lyons, C. P. (1956). Trees, Shrubs and Flowers to Know in Washington (1st ed.). Canada: J. M. Dent & Sons. p. 88.
  13. ^ Mulligan, Brian O. (1977). Woody Plants in the University of Washington Arboretum, Washington Park. University of Washington, College of Forest Resources, Seattle.
  14. ^ Mulligan, Brian O. (1963). Accession records of the University of Washington Arboretum
  15. ^ Mosquin, Daniel (23 April 2007). "Rubus spectabilis Double-Flowered Group". University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  16. ^ Inland Fisheries Ireland. "Risk Assessment of Rubus spectabilis" (PDF). National Biodiversity Data Centre. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  17. ^ Højgaard, A. et al., eds. (1989). A century of tree-planting in the Faroe Islands. Føroya Fróðskaparfelag, Tórshavn.

External links[edit]