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Tree Campus: Salmonberry

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b



s.təgʷədac - S. Lushootseed

Rubus spectabilis (ROSACEAE)



Western N. America, W-Central Alaska to Calif, inland to Idaho.



"Salmonberry fruits, ripe from June to August, rank at the very top of foods for wildlife. The early blooming flowers, blossoming from March to June, are an important nectar source for bees, butterflies, various other insects, and hummingbirds. The berries are relished by songbirds, bears, and small mammals a much as they are enjoyed by humans. Leaves, twigs, and stems are grazed by browsers, such as deer, elk, and rabbits. The dense thickets provide excellent escape habitats for birds and small mammals, and nesting sites for songbirds." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Salmonberry fruits are edible, but are considered too soft to dry. Both the large, raspberry-like fruit and the young shoots were widely eaten by coastal peoples of British Columbia and western Washington. Fruits were an important food source for Native Americans and are still collected today. The berries are among the first to ripen, and are a beautiful salmon color that stand out in the generally rainy weather of spring. Large quantities of fresh berries were picked and were often served at feasts, usually with oil or ooligan grease, said to prevent constipation. Today salmonberries are frozen, canned, or made into jams and jellies.

The young growing sprouts are harvested from April to early June. They are snapped off with the fingers before they become woody, then peeled, and eaten raw or, more commonly cooked by steaming or boiling. Sprouts are also tied in bundles and pitcooked. They were usually eaten with seal oil or ooligan grease, and, more recently, with sugar, often as an accompaniment to dried salmon or meat. Some Nuu-chah-nulth people boiled the leaves with fish as a flavoring. The Kaigani Haida used the leaves to line baskets, wipe fish, and cover food in steaming pits.

The Makah dry and peel a branch of salmonberry, remove the pith, and use it for a pipe stem. The Quileute plug the hair seal float used in whaling with the hollow stem of elderberry wood, then insert a piece of salmonberry wood as a stopper. This salmonberry plug can be removed for further inflation of the float. Salmonberry has an astringent quality in the bark and leaves. The Quileute chew the leaves and spit them on burns, and in winter when the leaves are not obtainable they use the bark instead. The Makah pound the bark and lay it on an aching tooth or a festering wound to kill the pain. The Quinault boil the bark in seawater, and the brew is drank to lessen labor pains and to clean infected wounds, especially burns." [1]



"Salmonberry is a useful shrub in created wetlands because it transplants easily, with good soilbinding qualities once it is established, and is well adapted to eroded or disturbed sites." [1]



[1] Stevens, M. and Darris, D. (2000). SALMONBERRY Rubus spectabilis. USDA NRCS Plant Fact Sheet.

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