Among the roses are some of our favorite flowers and berries; the bright yellow Potentilla spp. and Geum spp., the fragrant burnet (Sanguisorba stipulata), the salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis), nagoon berries (Rubus arcticus), and wild strawberries (Fragaria chiloensis). Most have showy flowers that are pollinated by insects, and in the Unalaska area all have five petals, except the burnet, which has none. The leaves are highly variable and often striking. The family includes both woody and herbaceous plants which range in size from the tall salmonberry bushes to the tiny low-growing sibbaldia (Sibbaldia procumbent). This is a large and diverse family, § well represented in Alaska and found throughout the world. Species have
§ come into the Aleutians from both Asia and North America. Both salmono
^ berries and burnet have come across mainland Alaska but have reached no farther west than the eastern Aleutians. Wild strawberries followed the same path but reached the central islands. Most of the geums extend throughout the chain. Marsh fivefinger (Potentilla palustris) is circumpolar and is migrating into the islands from both directions but has yet to meet in the middle. In the westernmost Aleutians, an Asian species of mountain ash (Sorbus sambucifolia) occurs.
Rubus arcticus L. ssp. stellatus (Sm.) Boiv. (= R. stellatus Smith)
aahmaadax, hamax, haamachiiyax, aamchiiyax
A low-growing plant with stems 2" to 7" tall, the nagoon berry emerges from a woody rootstock. The leaves are deeply rugose (wrinkled), serrated, and divided into three blunt lobes. They are similar to the salmonberry's leaf but are smaller and more rounded. The rose pink petals are long, narrow, and pointed. The dark red sepals between them are shorter and also pointed. The plant bears a single, shiny, bright ruby-red berry with large druplets.
The exquisite taste of nagoon berries have earned them the reputation as the jewels of all Alaska berries; a small jar of jelly is said to fetch an extraordinary price. But nature offers them sparingly; they seldom fruit in abundance and grow in scattered patches. They favor mossy meadows and semi-dry tundra where the vegetation is low, sometimes growing among reindeer lichen (Cladonia spp.).
Throughout the Aleutians and widespread in Alaska. The species as a whole is circumpolar.
Malina bushes (from the Russian)
Rubus spectabilis Pursh alagnax, halagnax, alagnam ingiiga
A tall bush with long, thin and straight woody stems that form dense thickets, often reaching well overhead. The stems are sometimes prickly near the base. The leaves are large, coarsely serrated and divided into three leaflets. Flowers are rose pink; the five pointed petals are often wrinkled, and the calyx sits behind them like a green cap. The sweet and juicy berries vary in color from orange red to purple and are often as big as a walnut.
Salmonberries grow in abundance in Un-alaska's hills and ravines. The flowers bloom early in the spring and are a favorite of the bumblebees. The berries, picked by the bucketful, are excellent eaten fresh or made into pies, jams, and jellies. Freezing them on baking sheets before putting them into bags prevents them from squashing. Range:
Pacific Northwest, Pacific coast of Alaska, into the eastern Aleutians.
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