The second installment of berry’s to eat or not to eat…

13Aug07

The elderberry bush has actually ripened which gives me an opportunity to allow you a gander on what should be picked – for wine, pies or jellies… (You can find info on the elderberry on the link below titled Wild Berries.)

ripened elderberries

The American Red Raspberry is very edible. In our backyard they grow wild and are a native plant. Make no mistake we are looking at tiny berries in comparison to your store bought berry. They are probably about the size of the tip of your pinky and unless you have extremely large hands this makes them considerably smaller than the berries your used to. What they lack in size they really do make up in taste. Wandering through the forest if you happen to run upon this bush I’d recommend giving a couple a taste and if your hungry clean out the bush. (The ones in this area usually grow right along side the thimble-berry bushes.) I’m just grateful I got this shot before the kids ate them all.

American Red Rasberry

Now a berry to avoid; the Bear Berry. Not only do I love saying the name three times fast, the Bear Berry has a fascinating history.

First, yes, they are adored by bears and thus, the name was given.
Second, the leaves of the plant has been used for centuries and for many things. It was used by American Indians. They dried out the leaves and stems were smoked in purification rituals. It was used by druggists in days gone by commonly to get rid of infections. It has been replaced by the antibiotics we use today.
Third, the berry and plant technically speaking is edible however it is not recommended because it contains a chemical that is very hard on the liver. (This is the only reason it was replaced to fight infection.)

That being said it is used quite a bit even today by herbalists. If you have a whole backyard of these and just have to used them for something besides decorations, it’s commonly used in potpourri and some teas. You can find recipes at your local herbal shops for both the Indian mixture to smoke as well as herbal teas.

bear-berry

Okay Link Time

By providing my past links I’m simply attempting to organise something that was completely disorganized! All of these berries are local to the area.

Nightshade 

Wild Berries This link covers the chokecherry, elderberry, oregon grape  and thimble-berries.

SnowBerry

Outside Sources and Websites …

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearberry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowberry

lemme add here, quick like a bunny… these are not all the berries we have in this area these are simply the berries I had a chance to photograph. I suspect I missed the dawning of the huckleberries and service berries. This will be updated as I run into more berries. September is a harvesters dream if the harvester loves a good berry that is.

A later addition;

Devils Club

This one is commonly known as Devil’s Club. (Oplopanax horridus) There is a logical reason for the name it has spikes all the way up it including along the really large maple like leaves. The young shoots (before the spines come in) can be eaten as a survival food however not even birds munch on these berries. This would be a good plant to not pick berries off of – you’ll find it along creek beds in the area and areas with a overgrown canopy of trees. Just bypass this guy.

Devil’s Club

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52 Responses to “The second installment of berry’s to eat or not to eat…”

  1. Your photographs are just so stunningly beautiful, as always!

    P.S. I love raspberry iced tea, which a cafe near my house is quite adept in making! 🙂

  2. The raspberries are perfect treats for my oatmeal in the morning! Hmm

  3. Thanks Narziss! And Mon@rch, the kids cleaned me out the next day. (And that’s saying something – the patch works to be about a half an acre. Guess, I’m eating my cheerios plain tomorrow.)

  4. 4 montucky

    Nice shots of the berries! I’m not familiar with the bear berry though. We may not have them around here. I wonder if it’s a relative of the kinnikinnik.

    I was thinking about your post about the nightshade berry. I found some of them here and will post a photo a little later that you might like: it’s really different.

    • 5 Cholla

      Kinnikkinnik is bearberry. Used in smoking mixtures, and as a tea for kidney and bladder complaints.

  5. Hi Montucky – thanks for visiting; actually kinnikinnik is the same name for Uva ursi (or the bear berry) most likely we’ve got here a American Indian name vs. your hometown country boy name. (We were probably more likely to give it the name bear berry.) It’s actually considered an herb. I’d love to see your version of the nightshade – the berries really color different than anyone I’ve ever witnessed. Primarily, I’d love to see your perspective of the plant.

  6. Nice photos and commentary. One of my favs here is blackberries and soon muscadines will be ripe. I can’t wait if the drought don’t finish them off. Great article. My mom makes a concoction with blackberries boiling them in water and adding sugar. When finished throw them in a bowl with homemade biscuits and get out of my way. It is best to leave a few red berries in that are about to ripen. A little extra kick.

  7. Great post & photos, Aullori! Other than the raspberries, blackberries and strawberries that grow wild here, I’m never sure which ones are OK to eat or not, so I leave them for the birdies 🙂

  8. We are past berry season in Northern Indiana, where I live. But, it was great while it lasted.

    I use berries in sauce over ice cream, pancakes, in pies, cobblers and crisps. And freeze them for winter, as well.

    I love your site and your photographs. I especially enjoyed the birds and appreciate that they were identified. My husband and I are the rawest of amateur birders. So many that were common here when I was I child, I no longer see. But, my husband and I are working on making our woods more wildlife attractive and are working on learning to identify as many of those we do have. Sites like yours help.

  9. Hi Boyd, I love your stories that you grew up with. I for one totally intend to use the recipe you gave! (no black berries that I know of… so I guess it’s next seasons raspberries instead.)

  10. Thanks Adam – I leave a lot for the birds myself (it makes for an easier shot!) Good advice for any bird watcher just hang out at these bushes and wait. 🙂

  11. Thanks Jolynna, I appreciate the support. I have fun making the site and I’m glad it can be of help – it also helps to have a few pals online who really know their birds so they can correct me when necessary. (You can look at the links on the side and both Adam and Monarch are really awesome at close ups and identification.) I’ve noticed (just my not so humble opinion) that to make your woods more attractive just leave the bushes and brush – offer a water source and if your feeding them black sunflowers draw them in like nothing else. Just so you know you have my complete support. Anytime you have a question just ask… I may not know but I’m guessing I’ll know someone who does. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by I’d offer coffee but being online does not do a good cup of coffee justice.

  12. 13 valerie miller

    hello my name is Valerie and I was needing some help with some backyard berrys …i have wild red rasperries and mulberries but I also have white mulberries – which i had never heard of- and some other berries that i have yet to identify…where would i go to find out what else is out there…please drop me a line and in the mean time i will go out and take pictures of all of them so I can compare …thank you for your time

    • 14 Cholla

      Mmmm…white mulberry! Much sweeter than black mulberry, and tasty even after they’ve dried out a bit! Chewy, at that point.

      • 15 Cholla

        PS–white mulberry was brought here to feed the silk worm industry that never took off.

  13. 16 NW Forager

    I am looking for info on a yellow/orange berry. It has go many seed capsules like a raspberry,salmon berry,blackberry. I have only seen the bush growing low or even like groundcover. Any info? Thanks=D

  14. 18 Daphne

    I grew up in Newfoundland loving to eat what we called as children “chuckle pears.” They grew on tall bushes and they had a mixture of purple/darkblue/dark red berries that were the size of a large cranberry. They were very sweet and we ate them in bunches. My parents always valued the blueberry, partridge berry and the cloud berry for cooking and preserving but they did not want the chuckle pear. I could not understand why as the tasted so good.

    I have searched repeatedly for the species of berry this could be and cannot find anything about a chuckle pear. Do you have any idea what it is and does it have another name? Waiting to hear back. Daphne B.

  15. I read your posts for a long time and must tell that your posts are always valuable to readers.

  16. 20 rene

    Hello
    there is a yellow raspberry-like berry that grows on a meduium sized shrub in the forests around Portland. What might this be? Is it edible?
    thanks

  17. 22 Lorie Catron

    i would love to find some printable pictures of the wonderful wild berries we enjoy here in the great Northwest.

  18. valrie, contact me anytime. there is a white mulberry here is a link, http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Mulberries.html

    NWForager – now that berry sounds like a bit of a mystery. (not claiming to be an expert by any means….) it may be a golden rasberry (which sometimes looks yellow, golden or white…) but other than that you got me on that one.

    Daphne, my guess? we call them huckleberries, you call them chuckleberries or chuckle pears. Lemme offer a link and you see if this is similar. btw they make lovely pies and jams. :o) http://loriaull.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/western-huckleberry-vaccinium-membranaceum/ Now I’ve read some things online that imply that it’s saskatoon berries (or http://loriaull.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/western-serviceberry-amelanchier-alnifolia/ ) but based upon the decription my guess is you ran into huckleberries.

  19. Lorie, I’ll work on a post to do all of this info on one post and thus may help in the issue. I can totally understand the problem there (and frustration) I’ve looked for good shots for years to identify properly berries. Let’s see if in the next couple of days I can help out.

  20. Lori,
    I came across your site while looking for wild berry bushes or plants. I have a bush/plant that started growing at the side of our patio. My husband says he thinks it is just a weed, I am not sure and don’t wish to destroy something that even the BlueJay is eating. I have not attempted to eat the berries growing on it, but am very curious as to what it may be. I have taken pictures of it, just can not find any other pics like it on the web. The main stalk of it, is a red color. Leaves, some are large and some are small and green. I noticed little white flowerets growing on it, they in turn turned to a green berry, the green berry started to turn a black-red, they are smooth and when they are opened, their juice is a red purple. Any idea what this bush/plant may be? I live in Ohio..I know a bird probably put it there. ( smiling ).
    Could I possible send a picture or two?

    Any information would be very much appreciated, thank you in advance.

    Ramona

  21. 26 Rose

    Hi Lori,
    I came across your beautiful site for the same reason Ramona did – and I think I’m looking at the same unique plant and also searching the net trying to find out what it is. It’s growing in a crack at the side of my driveway and it’s been so unusual looking that I kept watering it, instead of pulling it out. The black colored soft berries appear to be ripe now and it still has bracts of green hard berries on it too. The smooth rounded red stem of the plant looks like a succulent, but the leaves are a non glossy, soft green. Ramona, I’d love to see your photos and see if we’re both looking at the same plant – I live in Lodi, California.
    If anyone knows what this plant might be, I’d love to know.
    Rose

  22. 27 Rose

    Hi Lori & Ramona,
    I just found what my plant with red stems is – Poke Weed of all things! I’d never seen one before here in California – I always thought of them as being in the South. Not having seen your pictures, I don’t know that your plant is the same, but you may want to check out Poke Weed. Lovely berries for the birds!
    Rose

    • 28 Cholla

      Florists use them, so sometimes, when they don’t sell, they get thrown out, or people who do receive them throw them out, birds eat the seeds, and plants spring up. They’re showing up in Seattle, now,too.

  23. 29 Katerina

    THANK you Aullori, Ramona and Rose! I was also looking in the web to find what was that plant I found on my granmothers garden amongst the Hydrangeaceas and I happened upon this blog and read your descriptions and looked for “Poke weed” and.. There it was!!!
    Where I found it is in Greece, on mt.Pelion.
    This post about the berries is very interesting!

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  25. Some nice pictures of berries! I discovered your blog while I was trying to find pictures of wild marqui berries.

  26. We found numerous plants that resemble wild strawberries (have 3 -leaf clusters on low growing vines; red berries are ripening in May in Maryland. They are round-shaped fruits with finger “prongs” rather than typical strawberry lobes and seeds. Could this be a variety coming from commercial mulch, as they grow around plants and foundation where we put mulch last fall?

  27. 34 Saleena

    This is such a great site. I just wanted to make sure that the berries in my backyard are indeed raspberries before I feed them to my guests tonight 😉

  28. Thank you so much for all the Detailed Information in your Article’s I especially enjoyed the Artical on Thimble Berrie’s & Bear Berrie’s. Your Photos that you Added along with the Articale’s were very helpful to me,
    But I am trying to find the Name & Photo of a Type of Red Berrie that is full of
    prickley stickers that grows in California in (El Dorado or Amador Counties)
    I was told that there is a Berrie plant that fits this description growing somewhere on my 5 1/2 Acres but I haven’t found it yet, Also I am not sure if this Said Berrie is Edible or not, If you know of such a Plant could you lead
    to some type of Reference to it as I am starting to think that there is no such
    Berrie to fit the Description.

    Again Thank You
    Weaselbear
    Fiddletown,Ca.

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  1. 1 wild berries…. to eat or not to eat isn’t that the question?… « Random Musings
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