~ also called Strawberry Bramble, 5-Leaved Bramble and Creeping Raspberry
I’m the kind of person that can have an engaging conversation with you and not be able to tell somebody later what you were wearing, so it was especially exciting for me when I noticed this little plant in a small deep-moss clearing. It’s not so much that I’d never seen it before, it’s that I’d never really seen it!
Perhaps I had never seen it in bloom and may have mistaken its foliage for that of one of its cousins, the Dwarf Raspberry. In bloom I might have assumed that it was another relative, the Wild Strawberry. It’s very tiny.
A closer look reveals that this flower is quite different from a strawberry’s. The petals are more elongated and the centre was different. It had three very distinct superior ovaries with styles that turn pink along with the base of the petals and sepals as the flower matures.
The sepals are drooping at first, as you can see in the top picture and then in more mature blooms raised level below the petals. As the petals fall off it seems they continue to rise to enclose the fruit.
Single leaf and flower stalk emerge separately from the moss, about 5-7 centimetres high.
The leaves were different as well. At first I thought it had five leaflets on its palmately divided leaf, but the side leaflets are just so deeply cleft that there are actually only three.
Apparently the number of ovaries can vary as the fruit can have from 1-6 drupelets.
I had a really hard time identifying this plant. I couldn’t find it in any of my books, or through Internet searching so I posted it to a couple of groups on Flickr that help with this kind of thing. The following day I was very grateful to receive a positive ID from Tiggrx. I later found it in Wildflowers of Alberta by R.G.H. Cormack (Hurtig 1977) as a note within the description for the Dewberry.
There are literally hundreds of plants in the Rubus genus, which it is believed has survived for some 36,000 years and exists on all continents except Antarctica. This little treasure is just another little sibling in the family and I don’t know how long I’ve been rudely ignoring it. It is a beauty. It fully deserves the risk of getting a little damp as you lay down in the soft deep moss to spend some time getting to know it better.
Many thanks to Tiggrx for identifying this plant for me.
Dwarf or Stemless Raspberry / Dwarf Nagoonberry ( Rubus acaulis)
Though small, you’re not likely to miss this little treasure in the woods. The flower is brilliant pink and stands proudly above the shiny, textured leaves.
The delicious berries, however are a little more difficult to find, possibly because critters found them before you but also because they’re quite tiny – about 1cm. Indeed, they’re so good that I usually forget to take a picture before I eat them. 🙂
Prickly rose, Rosa acicularis is the provincial flower of Alberta. Confusingly, it is often confused with the more or less abundant (depending on the source) common wild or wood rose (R. woodsii), which has fewer thorns.
Most of the plant is edible and the hips are extremely high in Vitamin C as well as several other vitamins, however moderation is advised as over indulgance can cause diarrhea. The hairy seeds within the hip can irritate the digestive track and cause discomfort on elimination.
Various parts of this beautiful, and beautifully scented shrub was used by native people for food, drinks, medicines, jewelry, toys, and to smoke.
The popular rose scent is expensive for a reason: according to my favourite plant resource, sited here, “It takes 60,000 roses to produce 28 ml of pure essential oil”. That’s a lot of flowers!
This species is nearly circumpolar. According to Monstropedia a dead person could be prevented from turning into a vampire by “placing a thorny branch of wild rose in the grave”.