On the forage trail: Native Raspberry
(27 November 2014)
This local delight is currently in flower and fruit in a local parkland near you. Native Raspberry, Rubus parvifolius, is a petite bush berry which forms low, self-supporting mounds approximately 80cm high. They tend to pop up as pioneer plants in disturbed areas with moist soil. I have commonly seen them thriving in north-facing diversion drains alongside fire trails.
Although small, the red berries are packed with flavour and nutrition, and can be enjoyed by the whole family, dogs included. The foliage is also full of anti-oxidants and can be used in herbal teas.
As with many Rubus species, native raspberries have thorns, but their low growing habit makes them straightforward to harvest from. I tend to eat the fruit on the spot as it would take an awfully long time to pick enough for kitchen use, and who, quite frankly, would have the self-control to do so?
Native raspberries grow well in domestic situations, and you will see them available for sale in garden centres and online from time to time. I tend to grow their oversized cousins in my backyard however, leaving these little bubbles of adventure for my evening walks.
A word of caution when foraging on the urban (or otherwise) trail though: ensure you have correctly identified your tasty morsel before consuming it, and that it has not been contaminated with pesticides or other non-palatable nasties. One of my favourite reference books on the subject is The Weed Forager’s Handbook (2012) by Adam Grubb & Annie Raser-Rowland.