Rubus spectabilis

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"Salmonberry" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Rubus parviflorus.
Rubus spectabilis 2566.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Species: 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 (salmonberry) is a species of brambles in the rose family, 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 (40-160 inches or 1.3-13.3 feet) tall, with perennial, not biennial woody stems that are covered with fine prickles. The leaves are trifoliate (with three leaflets), 7–22 cm (2.8-8.8 inches) long, the terminal leaflet larger than the two side leaflets. The leaf margins are toothed. The flowers are 2–3 cm (0.8-1.2 inches) in diameter, with five pinkish-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 (0.6-0.8 inches) long with many drupelets.[5][6]

In the Pacific Northwest of North America the berries 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).

In Kodiak, Alaska, orange salmonberries are often referred to as "Russian berries".[citation needed] Because the berries are found in abundance there and look a lot like raspberries, one of the islands in the Kodiak archipelago is named Raspberry Island. Plain salmonberries are found as far north as Kivalina, Alaska.[citation needed]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Salmonberries are edible and share the fruit structure of the raspberry, with the fruit pulling away from its receptacle. Books often call the fruit "insipid"[7] but depending on ripeness and site, they are good eaten raw and when processed into jam, candy, jelly and wine. They were an important food for indigenous peoples. 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.[7]

It is widely grown as an ornamental plant for its flowers. A double-flowered form was discovered at the mouth of the Duckabush River, Jefferson County, Washington, around May 1, 1961, by Dr. R. C. Creelman of Bremerton, Washington. This has been given the cultivar name 'Olympic Double' or 'Olympic'. [8][9][10] Another double salmonberry was found by Phyllis Munday of Vancouver, British Columbia, but neither the date nor the site has been determined. This double may be confused in gardens with 'Olympic Double'.

It has escaped cultivation and become naturalized in parts of northwestern Europe, including Great Britain, Ireland and the Faroe Islands.[11][12]


  1. ^ a b The Plant List, Rubus spectabilis
  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. ^ a b Pojar, J., & MacKinnon, A., eds. (1994). Plants of the Pacific Northwest coast. Vancouver, BC: Lone Pine. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Pojar" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  8. ^ Mosquin, Daniel (2007-04-23). "Rubus spectabilis 'Olympic Double' - Botany Photo of the Day". Retrieved 2013-05-08. 
  9. ^ Mulligan, Brian O. (1977). Woody Plants in the University of Washington Arboretum, Washington Park. University of Washington, College of Forest Resources, Seattle.
  10. ^ Mulligan, Brian O. (1963). Accession records of the University of Washington Arboretum
  11. ^ Flora of NW Europe: Rubus spectabilis
  12. ^ Højgaard, A. et al., eds. (1989). A century of tree-planting in the Faroe Islands. Føroya Fróðskaparfelag, Tórshavn.

External links[edit]