PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)

An icon of the Pacific Northwest woodlands, Salmonberry is native exclusively in the PNW from southern Alaska to far northern California. It has been nurtured, honored, and eaten by the original people of the NW coast since time immemorial. It is said that when the Salmonberry’s flower and fruit are abundant, the salmon harvest will be good.

Salmonberry’s ecological role intersects, as most wild things in the PNW do, with salmon. It grows in forests or in adjacent open spaces, typically near streams and shores hosting salmon runs. Various animals who hunt salmon, leave the remains and their scat nearby to fertilize the salmonberries. The berry bushes thrive and produce more fruit which is also eaten by many of the same animals who ate the fish. Salmonberry blooms provide rich food for pollinating insects and birds, and so the complicated web of life prospers.

Salmonberry will grow happily in full sun to full shade. In sun it will be shorter and more full & compact, around 3-5 feet. In shade it will be taller and leggier, up to 10 feet, reaching up to get more light. It will fruit well in either location. It is one of the two most prominent wild raspberries here in the PNW, the other being Thimbleberry. In mid spring beautiful purplish pink flowers decorate the shrub. These turn to berries that transition from yellow to orange to red by early summer.