(Rubus chamaemorus— Family Rosaceae)
Cloudberry, salmonberry, baked apple berries (Canada), low/dwarf raspberries, creeping raspberry, trailing wild raspberry
multebær (Danish), molte (Norwegian), hjorton (Swedish), lakka/suomuurain (Finnish), moroshka (Russian), yun mei (Chinese), horomuiichigo (Japanese)
Cloudberries are closely related to the raspberry and look like small golden blackberries, only their segments are much larger but fewer of them.
They are often called salmonberries, but those are of a slightly different species. Salmonberries are common in the Green Timbers forest of BC (see our book) with a trail named after them.
Cloudberries grow on boggy land in the cold northern climates of Scandinavia, Siberia, and Canada, as well as the Arctic Circle, and are one of the most delicious and costly of all berries because of their limited growing area.
Because they lack the warmth in the growing areas, the berries ripen slowly, allowing the flavour to develop to an extraordinary intesity and sweetness tasting almost like honeyed apples. Indeed, in Canada, cloudberries are often called “baked apple berries”.
The berries are golden when ripe and soft and juicy, making them difficult to transport, even if there were enough to do so. Although they are eaten raw, or frozen for later use, the favourite way is to make them into jam.
They are highly-prized in Scandinavian countries, where they are made into jams, fruit soups, and desserts. In fact, they are so valued in northern Scandinavia where Finland, Sweden, and Norway meet, the cloudberry has long been the cause of “cloudberry wars”. These otherwise peace-loving countries have been known to become quite territorial when it comes time to harvest this berry, causing the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs to develop a special section just for cloudberry diplomacy.
The Arctic Bramble, åskerbær (Norwegian), åkerbår (Swedish), mesimarja (Finnish) (R. arcticus), is another northern species and like the cloudberry, a low-growing plant. The berries range from red to a deep purple which are fragrant and delicious.
A reader in Oregon wrote to tell us they have salmonberries (cloudberries) in their state, which is quite far south for this type of berry. She said they grow as far south as Tillamook Bay, especially in the Barview-Garibaldi region where it tends to be very moist and cool.