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Rubus Spectabilis 1.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Rubus spectabilis[1]

Rubus Spectabilis Flower.jpg
The flower of the Rubus spectabilis

The salmonberry is a berry-producing plant species known by the scientific name (Rubus spectabilis). It is a relatively tall shrub ranging between heights of three to ten feet. The small aggregate fruit of this plant resembles others similar fruits such as the blackberry and raspberry. These fruits are found most often on the west coast, from California to Alaska. The Rubus spectabilis produces a bright pink flower that attracts insects and hummingbirds for pollination. These fruits also contain many health benefits for humans who eat them.

Body Design

A picture of the body of the rubus spectabilis from the Smithsonian Institution

These deciduous shrubs bear pinnately compound leaves with three leaflets that may range between the lengths of one and three inches.[2] The salmonberry often grows to a height between three and ten feet tall.[3] The branches of the rubus spectabilis may have thorns that may be soft and harmless or stiff and sharp.[4] Additionally, the stems of these plants appear a golden-brown color with older stems bearing "papery" bark that may appear to have a "shredding" texture.[5]

The salmonberries produce pink to red monoecious (possessing both male and female reproductive organs on the same plant) flowers. The flowers typically occur alone or in groups of two to four.[2] The flowers of the Rubus spectabilis usually range in size between one and two inches and draw attention to the plant.[6] These plants also produce fruit similar to others within the genus rubus. The fruit of salmonberries are usually red, orange, or yellow, and pull off of the plant, leaving a hollow center. The berry typically has a "mushy" texture and has variable tastes.[3]

Life Cycle

Salmonberries are capable of reproducing both sexually and asexually. One method of asexual reproduction in salmonberries is layering. In this process, a portion of the stem makes contact with soil and begins to grow roots. another process of asexual reproduction is basal sprouting in which buds located near the bottom of the stem or the top of the roots may regenerate a plant after severe damage. Salmonberries also go through sexual reproduction which begins with the process of pollination by an insect, bird, or other pollinators[7]

In nature, when a berry is eaten, it will go through the animal's digestive tract. Once it exits the digestive system, the seeds may rest in dormancy for as much as two or more years.[7] In order to exit dormancy, the seed must be exposed to temperatures between thirty-six and forty-one degrees Fahrenheit.[8] When proper environmental conditions occur, the seeds begin the process of germination. In the proceeding years after germination, the annual growth of the Rubus spectabilis may range between seven and twelve inches.[7] The salmonberries pollinate during the spring when pollinators are active.[9] The actual fruits ripen between the months of June and August.[8]


A range map for the rubus spectabilis

Salmonberries are located primarily in the western United States and Canada. These plants may be found in the Pacific Northwest area ranging from northern California to Alaska. Although the salmonberries are most common in this area, some have been spotted in areas as far east as Idaho and Montana. [10] Salmonberries mostly appear west of the Cascade Mountains.[8] The plants thrive in wetlands, near streams or rivers, or other various areas with high levels of moisture.[8][11]

As producer organisms, the salmonberry creates its own energy through the process of photosynthesis which results in the production of glucose.[3] Many animals such as birds, insects, rabbits, beavers, and deer may consume the nectar, twigs, leaves, and buds of these plants.[6] As well as serving as food for certain animals, the salmonberry may also act as shelter and protection for various smaller animals.[12]

Consumption and Health Benefits

Many people create homemade jam with the Rubus spectabilis

Many people enjoy the taste of various pieces of the salmonberry plant. Most commonly, people eat the berries, which many consume raw. While consumed less frequently than the berries, some people eat the sprouts of the plant with various fish, or eat the shoots, both cooked and raw.[13] Salmonberries may also serve as a sweet main ingredient in home made jams and jellies.[13]

Salmonberries provide several health benefits for those who consume them. These fruits contain high levels of vitamins C, K, and A and are also a significant source of manganese.[14][15] Antioxidants contained within the salmonberry and the complete lack of fat, cholesterol, and low levels of sodium all contribute to the health benefits provided by this plant.[15] With very few calories in this fruit, the salmonberries are a healthy treat.


This video shows many different pictures of various parts of the Rubus spectabilis.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rubus spectabilis PurshShow Salmonberry USDA. Web. Accessed May 7, 2014. Author Unknown
  2. 2.0 2.1 Salmonberry WSU Clark County Extension PNW Plants. Web. Accessed May 10, 2014. Author Unknown.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Peterson John, Seiler, John, Jensen, Edward, Niemiera, Alex. salmonberry Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. Web. Date-of-publication or last-update or access (specify which).
  4. What are Salmonberries? wiseGEEK. Web. Accessed May 10, 2014. Author Unknown.
  5. Salmonberry Islandwood Education Wiki. Web. Last Updated June 30, 2014. Author Unknown.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Rubus spectabilis - Salmonberry Web. Accessed may 12, 2014. Author Unknown.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Reproduction BioWeb. Accessed May 12, 2014. Author Unknown.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Stevens, Michelle. SALMONBERRY Rubus spectabilis Pursh USDA. Web. Published December 2000.
  9. Jensen, Edward; Anderson, Debra; Zasada, John;Tappeiner, John.THE REPRODUCTIVE ECOLOGY OFBROADLEAVED TREES AND SHRUBS: SALMONBERRY Forest Research Laboratory Oregon State University. Web. published May 1995.
  10. Ramsay, Matthew.Salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis UW Departments Web Server. Web. Published April 14, 2014.
  11. Slichter, Paul. Salmonberry Rubus spectabilis Flora and Fauna Northwest. Web. Acessed May 24, 2014.
  12. Interactions BioWeb. Web. Accessed May 26, 2014. Author Unknown.
  13. 13.0 13.1 . Salmonberry (Rubus Spectabilis) Only FOODS. Web. Author Unknown. Accessed May 25, 2014.
  14. Salmonberry And Its Health Benefits The Health Benefits. Web. Author Unknown. Accessed May 25, 2014.
  15. 15.0 15.1 . Salmonberry: Nutrition. Selection. Storage fruits & veggies more matters. Web. Author Unknown. Accessed May 25, 2014.