Taking a slow walk this morning I stopped to break a branch off the Thimbleberry bush that grows wild everywhere on the island, mostly in wet shady forests. I took it home and did a sketch of it to add to my native plants for botanical painting during a later day.
The thimbleberry has large stark flowers in clusters and large maple type leaves. The bright red fruit is soft when ripe cupped shaped like a domestic raspberry easily removable for birds. It’s a sweet fruit and edible but not desired by locals for canning for cooking.
The local Native Americans made use of this plant and fruit. The Kwakiutl and Haida Nations used the long straight woody shoots for spears in throwing games; The Squamish used the hollow stems in their tools for fishing and hunting; the Comox used the hollow tube to poor water into a steam cooking pit; the Makah on the most northwestern corner of Washington coast made pipe stems from the hollow stems; the Quileute used them to make plugs for air seal skin floats. The coastal natives dried the berries for winter fruit. There is a documented history of uses by this plant that offers so much diversity for food and utilities; most history has been handed down through Native American ancestry.