Yesterday May 21, 2014, I tasted my first two ripe salmonberries of the season, right here in Joe Brown Park. now the treasure hunt will begin, on the way to and from school or dog walks!! Salmon berries also come in yellow , orange and red. They are cousins of the raspberry and related to the Rose family!
The Chinook Tribe believed that when this plant was first discovered, the Coyote was instructed to put the berries into the mouth of each salmon caught in the river, This was done to ensure continued good fishing. Just one theory on how the Salmonberry got it’s name. One of many legends and interesting stories of our native people.
Others believed that the name simply comes from the fact that the ripened berries look a lot like – in color and appearance – salmon eggs! The berries were eaten fresh and made into jams, dried for teas. Some tribes used the leaves and roots dried ten boiled into a concoction to treat anemia, to ease labour pains and painful periods. The leaves were chewed to treat toothaches and stomach problems.
Unfortunately, Salmonberries are perishable and have a short shelf life, so pick and eat, or use in muffins etc. right away!
Salmonberries are important in our ecosystem, they provide food for bees and hummingbirds and nesting and browsing for other animals, like birds deer and rabbits They also prevent erosion with their deep roots and rhizomes that spread from the plant. This plant thrives after fire has damaged land. By removing this plant from the ecosystem, it is much harder for land to recover and animals to find food.
Go outside , look for and enjoy some delicious salmonberries!