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Salmonberry · Rubus spectabilis
Description: A deciduous, thicket-forming shrub (3-10 ft.) with sparsely thorned woody stems and pinnately compound leaves. Its magenta flowers appear before the foliage in early spring and provide one of the first nectar sources for hummingbirds. Flowers are followed by edible salmon to reddish-purple fruit in late June. These are eaten by finches, wrens, bushtits, thrushes, robins, and towhees. Salmonberry provides good erosion control and can be aggressive. Plant it near streambanks, at the edges of marshes or lakes, in ravines, where it will receive part sun and moderate-regular water.
Lewis and Clark collected a salmonberry specimen on March 27, 1806, near the mouth of the Cowlitz River. Having previously confused it with thimbleberry, Lewis described salmonberry in detail on April 8, 1806: "with rispect to the shrub I have hitherto called the large leafed thorn. the leaf of this thorn is small, being only about 2 1/2 inches long, is petiolate, conjugate; the leafets are petiolate acutely pointed, having their margins cut with unequal angular insissures. the corolla consists of five accute pale scarlet petals."