Thimbleberries

reinbeaux(z8 WA State)September 25, 2004

Such a GORGEOUS day here in the PNW, I decided to take a little time out to check on the cuttings I have been taking. Looks like at LEAST 1/2 of the thimbleberry cuttings I took on Aug. 18 (this year) are already rooted and growing! I wasn't sure, because of their stem, whether they would be a good candidate for stem cuttings --- although they seem to be perfectly fine being propagated that way. They were softwood cuttings with leaves, in a mix of sand and seed starting mix, outside (no mist) regular watering - and perfectly happy! Now I wish I would have done about 100 cuttings instead of 20!

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elder(6VA)

Ah!!! We all wish you would have done two hundred instead of twenty. I saw my first thimbleberry plants at a botannical gardens in Madison, WI just this summer, they were beautiful. I wish you every success with yours. Would they thrive in northern VA?.....Elder

    Bookmark   September 25, 2004 at 8:40PM
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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

Thimbleberries are a NW native - hardy from USDA zones 4-9 --- I think they would do very well in Virginia.

I will go check the closest patch and take more cuttings if I can --- afraid they will be going dormant soon but I can at least try!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2004 at 8:54PM
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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

Just did 60+ more thimbleberry cuttings! So hopefully I will soon have some to trade (hint: I REALLY want 'Illinois Everbearing' and 'Oscar' mulberries - AND OHxF rootstock)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2004 at 10:39PM
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pdxjules(8, Portland, OR)

I've been helping a friend pull and hack back blackberry vines for months along the Columbia River Gorge near Skamania. He's instructed me to try to leave the Thimbleberries in place. They grow tall and airy in the healthy alpine rainforest understory...complementing the architecture of mature evergreens really well.

Since it's private land, I can grab some baby plants for others in the Portland area if you want to grow some. takes quite a few to get many berries however, so if you are mobile, I think better to just gather some berries on hikes, the way blackberries are best harvested around here.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2004 at 3:35PM
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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

I am very surprised with how easy the first batch is rooting - so I took another 60+ cuttings last night --- although it may be too late in the year and they may die back in dormancy before rooting (I know where there is more for next year though!) --- I have had good luck with some herbaceous perennials taking cuttings this late and they rooted enough before dying back they started growing again in the spring ---- at least I am thinking thimbleberries are herbaceous - haven't really paid that close attention to them in the winter.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2004 at 3:55PM
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drasaid(zone 8)

Bummer. They are beautiful.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2004 at 5:08PM
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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

I think most should be okay --- I'll protect them somewhat if the weather starts getting very cold. sometimes we don't get a heavy frost here until November - and since it's suppose to be a warm, wet winter, maybe not until December or January. Thimbleberries are all around - able to get plenty of cuttings next year regardless (and my new thimbleberry plants I will keep for my mother plants - will be able to get several from them by next year too)

    Bookmark   September 28, 2004 at 7:01PM
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larry_gene

Thimbleberries (R. parviflorus), are native to the PNW, BC Canada, a thin strip across the Northern U.S., the strip widens in Michigan where thimbleberry products are sold locally, and there are some native plants in New England.

T-berries are a perennial that regrow from the roots every year. Jelly and syrup from the fruit is unsurpassed for flavor.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2004 at 11:57PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

They are a weed in my yard. They have very persistent roots and manage to grow back from small pieces. They can grow to an enormous circle then collapse from their own weight to make a flopped-over mess. But the berries are very flavorful.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2004 at 3:06AM
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Stevil(6A/Norway)

I am growing both R. parviflorus and R. odoratus in my garden here in Norway - they haven't fruited yet, but look very similar in leaf form. In my literature, I see they are both called Thimbleberries. Do you distinguish them (I'm not sure botanically how they are distinguished)? Are they equally good? I also have a R. spectabilis (Salmonberry)- another one from the PNW. This one isn't 100% hardy here, sometimes dyring back - but the multi-coloured berries are worth the wait. How does this one compare with Thimbleberries?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 2:36AM
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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

I am not sure of the difference - unless one is the red one and the other is the black - much harder to find - one.

salmon berries die back in the winter even here in the PNW (as do thimbleberries) Thimbleberries the seeds are much more dense and tighter than salmonberries (which resemble a himalayan blackberry in shape) salmon berries widely vary in flavor depending on growing conditions. Both salmon berries and the red thimbleberry are very common in the PNW - great eating along the trail (as is the native huckleberry)

I honestly didn't know the thimbleberry was a sought after plant until I joined garden web - most people (NOT ALL!) here in the NW consider both salmon berries and thimbleberries weeds. Pretty interesting that they are desired plants in some areas. I guess it's true what they say - one areas weeds are another areas prized plants.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2004 at 7:57PM
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larry_gene

A quick Web search revealed R. odoratus to be a "purpleflowering raspberry". Fruit taste claims from dry and tasteless to seedy but tasty. I think these wildly varying taste testimonials are the result of not knowing when certain wild fruits are at the peak of ripeness.

R. odoratus occurs over much of the Eastern U.S. and looks totally like R. parviflora except for having purple instead of white blossoms.

I have never eaten a Salmonberry that I savored, although they can bring a bit of relief if you are a very hot, dusty hiker. I find they range in flavor from metallic to bland, rarely slightly sweet. Thimbleberries I have eaten in a wide variety of locales have a constant flavor. When a thimbleberry will fall off the pith by tapping on the stem just below (and catching the berry with free hand!), it is fully ripe.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 12:57AM
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reinbeaux(z8 WA State)

salmonberry - their are a FEW areas that have flavorful berries (not many) - most of them are bland, no taste. Thimbleberries are quite good.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2004 at 3:18PM
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Stevil(6A/Norway)

Thanks for the information.

When I said that my salmonberries die back, I meant that they freeze back. I presume that this doesn't happen in the PNW. However, the shoots are perhaps biennial (like red raspberries, Rubus idaeus), fruiting on the previous year's growth and then dying? Can anyone confirm this?

If they freeze there are no berries that year.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 5:24AM
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luvdaytimeactivities

According to the folks on an edible container gardens list I'm on you can grow blackberries(rasberries and strawberries) in a pot and they will fruit well and flourish. But no one was familar with Thimbleberries and thats what I want to grow the most, do you think they will grow in a pot on my east facing west Los angeles balcony that gets full sun from early morn til 10:45am or 11am( now in Sept) then indirect light for rest of day? Also:
1). How big, and how many years mature does a plant have to be before it will bear fruit? My impression is the bigger and more mature the plant is when you get it, the sooner it will fruit, is this true?
2). With West LAs consistent warmth, light, and coastal moisture can it grow and not die if I get 1 sometime this month, use the best kind of potting materials?

3). Does anyone know where near West LA I can get a large mature plant?

Thank you!
~Diana(310)936-3150

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 6:35PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I don't think Thimbleberries will do well in LA, they are native to a much colder climate. They grow wild in Lake Tahoe, and the healthiest patches I've seen have always been in part shade under trees, not in full sun.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 9:13PM
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luvdaytimeactivities

Thanx peachymomo, I think I accidentally responded to you i another forum: I actually tried Thimbleberries 1st in LA growing abou 1/2 mile from the coast in a park, wild, when I was a child. I now live less than 3 miles from coast so still within coastal mist. Also found them in Marin in Northern CA. So I'm still exploring more info. Best wishes, ~Diana

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 1:43PM
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johnnyrazbrix(5)

Please advise where I can purchase thimble berry plants. They grow in the upper penninsula . I thought they were tasty and the jam was good. Thanks Johnny

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 11:58AM
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