Rosaceae (Rose Family)
General - a low, scrambling or erect, unarmed deciduous shrub up to 1 m high; stems perennial, few, erect, and simple, with shredding bark; young growth hairy.
Leaves - alternate; large 10-20 cm wide, simple, palmately-lobed; green above but pale beneath; lower surface usually soft-hairy; unequally serrate, turning brilliant orange to maroon in fall.
Flowers - showy white or, rarely, pink; in clusters of 2-7 at the branch ends; individual flowers large 3-5 cm wide; appearing in June and July.
Fruit - a "thimblelike" aggregate of numerous hairy, red or scarlet drupelets which become nearly dry at maturity and fall apart readily when picked.; ripening in late July and August.
A western species, from Alaska to California and into northern Mexico; east to the Great Lakes area. Infrequent in the NW Ontario region, restricted to the vicinity of Lake Superior, near Thunder Bay; often forming dense layers in open forest areas and margins.
The Thimbleberry fruit is edible but somewhat tasteless; palatability tends to become greater towards the eastern end of its range where rainfall is greater. Makes excellent jelly but tends to be too seedy for jam. Young shoots may be eaten as greens; leaves have been used in making teas.
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