Cloudberry Bog Surprise

My father and my uncle always talked about the “bakeapples” they used to pick in Newfoundland. Bakeapples, or cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) also grow on the west coast of British Columbia, but they’re a little hard to come by and we’ve never found them in very large numbers.

Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus)
Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) grows in low elevation bogs. The berries are edible and quite tasty!

This morning Jocie and I visited a bog (the location of which will remain our secret) and discovered a large patch of cloudberry in bloom. The flower  and leaves of this member of the raspberry clan are similar to the dwarf nagoonberry (Rubus arcticus) that grows in a small area up in Paradise Meadows. However, the flower is white instead of pink and blooms much earlier than nagoonberry.

Dwarf Nagoonberry (Rubus arcticus)
Dwarf Nagoonberry (Rubus arcticus) for comparison. Photographed in August 2012 in Paradise Meadows.

The cloudberry tended to grow at slightly higher elevations in the bog—typically we found it clustered around stumps and logs that provided a bit of height over the sphagnum moss. Even a low rising hummock appeared to provide enough of a difference to make for good cloudberry habitat.

Cloudberry Hummock
A small sphagnum hummock provides good habitat for Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus).

We’re definitely planning a return trip a little later to sample some of the cloudberries once they’ve gone to berry. There should be more than enough to make a small jar of jam. Of course, we’ll leave plenty for other wildlife to enjoy and to seed the next year’s plants.