Plant of the Week: Soapberry (Shepherdia canadensis)

Beloved by bears, these shrubs are ubiquitous in the surroundings of the Wrangell Mountains Center, especially in sunny, open areas. Leaves with coppery brown scales on their undersides form in opposite pairs, and small yellow flowers bloom in May. The shrubs are dioecious, meaning male and female flowers grow on separate plants. Bears feast on the berries, which are also edible for humans. They are traditionally whipped with sugar for a dessert. The fruits contain saponine, the compound responsible for the froth referenced by the common name. As always, only consume wild plants when identified with absolute confidence.

Photography by Paul Scannell (www.facebook.com/paulscannellphotography)

Photography by Paul Scannell (www.facebook.com/paulscannellphotography)

Posted on August 16, 2016 and filed under Plant of the Week.