Herb: Salmonberry

Latin name: Rubus spectabilis

Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Medicinal use of Salmonberry:

The leaves and the root are astringent. A poultice of the chewed leaves has been used as a dressing on burns. The root bark is analgesic, astringent, disinfectant and stomachic. A decoction is used in the treatment of stomach complaints. A decoction has been used to lessen the pains of labour. The powdered bark has been used as a dusting powder on burns and sores. A poultice of the bark has been applied to wounds and aching teeth to ease the pain. A poultice of the chewed bark has been used as a dressing to relive pain and clean burns and wounds.

Description of the plant:


180 cm
(6 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Moist spots in and about woods below 300 metres in California.

Edible parts of Salmonberry:

Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use. Juicy with a very good flavour. The fruit can be made into jams and jellies. This species is not of much value in Britain, it does not fruit freely in the cooler summers of this country and the fruits do not always develop their full flavour. The fruit can range in colour from yellow, through orange to red, it is about the size of a cultivated raspberry but is rather inferior in flavour and often has a distinctive bitterness, especially in cooler summers. Another report says that it fruits freely in Britain. Young shoots - peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. They are harvested in the spring as they grow above the soil and whilst they are still tender. Flowers - raw. The leaves are used as a tea substitute.

Other uses of the herb:

A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit. The hollowed stems are used as pipes. (The report does not specify what type of pipes)

Propagation of Salmonberry:

Seed - requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3C and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.

Cultivation of the herb:

Moist spots in and about woods below 300 metres in California.

Known hazards of Rubus spectabilis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.