Cloudberry vs Emerald Carpet

A reader e-mailed to say that the plant I featured in my last post as Cloudberry may actually be a very similar looking relative used commonly in landscaping that has the common name “Emerald Carpet,” Rubus hayata-koidzumii, which seems also to be commonly called Rubus pentalobus (though confusingly, this latter Latin name is apparently no longer considered a “legitmate” name — which leads me to wonder, who decides?), which are native to Asia, and not Rubus chamaemoris, which is native to the Pacific Northwest. This makes sense, as I had wondered why, if it was native here, I had never seen it in the wilderness. Turns out true Cloudberries don’t grow south of Canada. So, that explains it. Both kinds of berries are edible and tasty. The distinction is one of classification. This reader added, “Cloudberries need a male and female plant to pollinate, where Emerald Carpet is self pollinating.”

I googled “Cloudberry vs. Emerald Carpet,” trying to distinguish them visually, and it is extremely subtle. It seems like maybe Cloudberries have berries that stick out more, elevated above the leaves, whereas Emerald Carpet seems to have berries closer to the ground. The leaves of Cloudberry also look slightly darker. While Googling, I also found a post Emily Porter had written about this after spotting them on the Lewis & Clark campus back in 2010. It seems the most meaningful distinction is geographical distribution.

My sincerest apologies to you, dear reader, for confusion caused by this error. I always strive for accuracy. Please do weigh in if you have experience with either plant.

To learn more wild plants, click here for the archives.

3 thoughts on “Cloudberry vs Emerald Carpet

  1. I found cloudberries in the U of M Botanical Garden in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As a part of a wild food foraging class, we were invited to eat them. The flavor was not as sweet– or even tart as a wild raspberry, but would have made good jam. They were very soft as described, but the color was quite different. The leaves were a softer green and slightly fuzzy. The berries were more upright than displayed here, and the color was more rosy pink rather than orange-ish. The flavor reminded me of mulberries, if they were built in a very soft ginormous raspberry. I have to wonder, are they related to dew berries? I hear they are also edible, and wild somewhere in North America.

  2. I live in Newfoundland, which is an island off the east coast of Canada. We have cloudberries galore here, although we call them bakeapples. They are the best berry in the universe, in my opinion. :) They grow on marsh, bog lands here, rather low to the ground. They usually ripen in late July or August, depending on the weather. When they are ripe they are soft, and hard to pick because they can easily squish in your fingers. They taste sweet and tart. They are perfect for jamming. As a side note, I read your post on the Rowan berries. Here in Newfoundland they grow everywhere. No one needs to buy a tree. Although, again, we call them by a different name. Here they are dogberries. Only the adventurous eat them. I’m going to be adventurous this year and try and make some jam.

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