Rubus leucodermis

 

Scientific name:  Rubus leucodermis

Native American name: Comox (east coast of Vancouver Island) called them “little stickers”[1]

Plant family: Rosaceae

Description: Deciduous shrub. Erect, arching up to 2m high of thorny shoot. Crown perennial, canes biennial. Stems covered with a whitish film. Leaves are pinnate with five leaflets in the first year and three in the second. White-pinkish small flowers (2-3cm) in clusters at terminal or leaf axis. Hairy, aggregate fruits of clusters of tiny drupes initially red and becoming purple to black. Ripening July-August.[2]

 

Habitat and Range: Disturbed sites, clear cuts, or burn sites. Thickets and open forests in low to mid-elevations. USA (AK, AZ, CA, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA), CAN (BC)

Historical and Contemporary Uses[3]

Drug Pomo, Kashaya Antidiarrheal Infusion of the leaves of root taken for diarrhea. Gastrointestinal aid  Infusion of the leaves or root taken for upset stomach. Other Infusion of leaves or root taken for weak bowels. Shoshoni Dermatological Aid Poultice of powdered stems applied to wounds and cuts Thompson Misc. Disease Remedy Mild infusion of washed roots taken for influenza

Food Many tribes eat the ripe berries in a variety of forms: fresh off the plant, dried into cakes or bread, soaked in water for a beverage, sun-dried and stored for later use, pies, or jams. They often accompanied fish, dried meat, or for dessert. For some tribes such as the Okanagon, the fruit was a staple in their diet. Young shoots were sometimes peeled and eaten raw or cooked in the spring (Comox)

Dye Thompson Juice used as a stain. Coast Salish combined it with fruits of salal, black twinberry, and wild raspberry for a purple stain.


[1] Gunther, E. (1945). Ethnobotany of Western Washington; The Knowledge and Use of Indigenous Plants by Native Americans. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

[2] Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon eds. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Vancouver, BC: Lone Pine.

[3] Goodrich, Jennie, and Claudia Lawson. 1980. Kashaya Pomo Plants. Los Angeles: American Indian Studies Center, University of California, Los Angeles.

Other references follow:

Moerman, Daniel E. 1998. Native American Ethnobotany. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press.

Turner, Nancy J., Laurence C. Thompson, M. Terry Thompson, and Annie Z. York. 1990. Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia.  Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum.

NRCS: USDA: PLANTS Profile Rubus leucodermis Accessed September 2011.

Turner, Nancy J. 1995. Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples. Vancouver: UBC Press. Royal British Columbia Museum Handbook series.