Saturday, July 17, 2010

Native Plants - Berries!

This region is covered in berries, many of the natives. These are two of my favorites.

The Trailing Blackberry (Rubus ursinus) is the only native blackberry of the Pacific Northwest - although not the most common. This is the berry vine that grabs your ankles and attempts to trip you as you hike in the woods or across grassy fields. This unfriendly behavior is compensated for by the tiny fruits that fill your mouth with a burst of intense, wonderful flavor.

Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus) is the gentle berry. The plant has huge maple-shaped leaves and no thorns. The fruits are delicate and sweet. This is my favorite of our regions many native raspberries, although I like them all. By constantly cutting back or pulling out the ever-invasive Himalayan Blackberries I've helped the native berries establish themselves along my lane. Once established, they hold their own (with a little help) against the stronger Asian and European invaders.

Our local berries start fruiting in May, well before the Himalayans and Evergreens. By encouraging these native food sources I hope to also support the native birds and animals that eat these nutritious fruits.

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