Monday, August 31, 2009

More Northern Forest Berries

We went out to Freeman island on Lac La Ronge this past weekend, where I found yet another berry. This one was edible too! I believe this is the wild black currant (Ribes americanum). It has prickly stems, tasty black berries with red juice, no foul smell, and is about three feet (90 cm) tall. It was growing in a sunny area, with slight cover from evergreen trees. It was also in a very convenient spot right up next to our cabin (how's that for a great plant quality?).
Wild black currant:

Foliage of the wild black currant:

Right next to the wild black currants were some wild raspberries (Rubus idaeus var. strigosus). I think the good berries had already been eaten by the hungry bipeds (of the human variety).
Wild raspberries:

Altogether, I counted eight berries at the cabin site, the first five being edible: (1) Wild raspberry, (2) Wild black currant, (3) Saskatoon berries, (4) Lingonberries, (5) Wild blueberries, (6) Northern comandra, (7) Bunchberries, and (8) Bearberries. If we looked harder, we might have even found some highbush cranberries too. As far as I know, none of the non-edible berries on that list are particularly toxic or dangerous in small quantities. (Also, the non-edible ones don't taste very good.) There were several mushrooms growing out there too, but I'm not even going to begin to try to identify (or eat) those. That's a hobby too reckless for my tastes.

I posted pictures of the other northern berries last year:
Kona, the husky-malamute, enjoying life on the island:

She's usually not particularly fond of water but spent a fair bit of time wading in the water up to her knees this weekend. I didn't notice her eating any berries, but she did eat grass (and her dogfood). This is the first time we have ever let her run off-leash and she stayed close to us and the cabin the whole time. She was more than happy to escort us on trips to the outhouse. I think the dog may enjoy life at the cabin more than I do!


Karen said...

What a beautiful portrait of your dog that last photo is.

Gardenista said...

Karen - yes, I don't think I've seen her so happy and relaxed (yet willing to let me take a photo) in a long time. Usually, I'm trying to hold onto a leash as I snap the photo, which is rather hard.

Thelma said...

Lovely blog, I too just found (and ate) some wild black currants in our pasture - delicious. I don't live quite as far north as you, just west of Cold Lake, Alberta and am enjoying your perennial selections.