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Rubus spectabilis (Salmonberry)
Weyand, Phyllis

Rubus spectabilis

Rubus spectabilis Pursh

Salmonberry, Salmon Raspberry

Rosaceae (Rose Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

A thicket-forming shrub, usually 3-9 ft. tall, with erect to arching stems and trifoliate leaves. Stems are bristly below, less so above. The big, reddish-purple, solitary flowers appear before the pinnate, toothed foliage. The large, bright, showy petals surround a large cluster of stamens. An erect or sometimes leaning shrub with weakly armed stems, bright pink flowers, and yellow or salmon-red fruits that resemble a cultivated blackberry in all but color. The berry is raspberry-like and yellow to reddish.

Growing on moist, sunny slopes in the Cascades, Salmonberry can form impenetrable thickets. The juicy fruit, which looks like a yellow or orange blackberry, is a welcome trailside snack, though too bland for some tastes. Indians ate not only the berries but also the tender young shoots. Numerous birds and animals also feast on the fruits, which may be abundant in good years. The deep pink flowers are distinctive and may occur along with the fruits.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Subshrub , Vine
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Trifoliate
Fruit Type: Aggregate , Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Red to orange, aggregated drupelets.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul


USA: AK , CA , ID , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: S. coastal AK to n.w. CA; rarely east of the Cascade crest to Bonner County, ID
Native Habitat: Low, moist woods; stream banks; mt. slopes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist to drier soils.
Conditions Comments: Can become extremely aggressive.


Use Wildlife: Very high for songbirds, game birds, and large and small mammals.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Propagation is easiest by cuttings or layering. Increase by seed is not as easy but is possible.
Seed Collection: Rubus fruits should be collected as soon as ripe to prevent losses to birds. The seeds can be extracted by macerating in water.
Seed Treatment: The hard, impermeable seed coat needs scarification. Both H2SO4 and sodium hypochlorite have been used. Scarification is sometimes followed by a complex combination of warm and cold stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Rubus spectabilis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rubus spectabilis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rubus spectabilis


Record Modified: 2022-10-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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