Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pink Flower Blooming

As I was walking my dog down the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington, I spotted a new splash of spring color.

The Indian Plum was the first bloomers and now the Salmonberry is blooming. This shrub is a native of the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest where it provides cover and food for birds and delicious berries for birds and people.

The little pink/magenta flower with five petals hangs down from a rather barren branch. The Salmonberry flower blooms before the leaves form where as the Indian Plum has leaves before the blooms. The leaves of the Salmonberry bush are similar in shape to those of the blackberry as it is in the same family. The leaves and flowers of the Salmonberry emerge quite early in the springtime, providing a welcome splash of pink color in the early spring.

The berries of the Salmonberry bush turn bright orange and move to a deep red color. They are good to eat when bright orange and sometimes taste a little bitter when they are red. The red of the ripe to overripe berry is reminiscent of the red salmon eggs of the Pacific Northwest, and this may be where the Salmonberry got its name.

Salmonberry bushes have less fruit than a cultivated raspberry, but they do bear significant quantities of fruit. The berries are tart and somewhat watery, less sweet than a cultivated blackberry and less tart than a raspberry.

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