Bramble Ramble

Five-leaved Bramble (Rubus pedatus)
Five-leaved Bramble (Rubus pedatus)

On a guided photography hike today I found myself (the leader) at the back of the pack, probably because I was walking slowly and admiring the fall colours and keeping an eye out for the small and interesting. Five-leaved bramble (Rubus pedatus) is one such plant. A member of the Rubus, or raspberry clan, this small old growth bramble grows close to the ground and somewhat resembles a strawberry in the shape of its leaves and creeping runners. It prefers the moist slopes of mossy forests ranging in elevation from low to sub-alpine.

Five-leaved bramble (Rubus pedatus)
Five-leaved bramble (Rubus pedatus) showing druplets and distinctive set of five leaves.

In Forbidden Plateau it is fairly common on the Lake Helen Mackenzie/Battleship Lake loop trail.At this time of the year the five-leaved bramble is in berry – bright red druplets contrast against the dark green of the moss. Like all raspberries, the fruit is edible and quite juicy and tasty. The problem is gathering the berries in significant quantities since the plant is so low and the berries few in number. However, as a trailside taste sensation they are worth a try (again, I’ll throw in the wild plant sampling disclaimer – make sure you know what you’re eating!).