The salmonberry, or the Rubus spectabilis, is a member of the Rosacea family, the same family as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and many more fruits. The salmonberry shares a similar structure to blackberries and raspberries, but has a bright orange color like salmon roe. These berries grow almost exclusively in the West of North America, on the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California.


Salmonberries attract hummingbirds and various insects, which usually land on the flower and take some pollen. They then travel to another salmonberry plant where the pollen that they acquired from the first plant rubs off and pollinates the plant, initiating salmonberry reproduction.

Salmonberries also reproduce through consumption by mammals. Each drupelet of a salmonberry has a seed, which is protected enough to withstand the digestive tract of an animal. The seed is later dropped in the hopes that it grows into a plant. Not very many seeds germinate immediately after being dropped since they often stay dormant for decades. They do this to avoid trying to grow in adverse conditions. A triggering factor for germination could be a low-intensity fire, which causes a seed to break out of its cotyledon and start sprouting. A high-intensity fire, on the other hand, can be detrimental and inhibit the growth of a salmonberry.

Salmonberries also extensively use an alternate form of reproduction: vegetative. An example of this is the usage of rhizomes. Rhizomes are a part of the salmonberry plant’s extensive root system, which grow horizontally and create buds. These buds then grow into flowering plants. Rhizomes can grow rapidly and a single network has the potential to grow hundreds of thousands of buds per acre.

Another form of reproduction is layering. This is when one of the stems is pushed over by something, causing it to make contact with the ground. When there is a bud on the fallen stem, a new plant can sprout from the single bud, and layering occurs. This is another example of interconnected salmonberry plants growing off one another.

The last method of reproduction is basal sprouting, when multiple buds grow off of the base of the stem. This is particularly useful when the main aerial stems are damaged, as it can create a new set of stems for the plant to reproduce through.

In a world where chronic hunger is normal for a sixth of the global population, plant reproduction is important to study to maximize the output of food.

Eric is a curious scientist from Juanita High School.