Category Archives: Cloudberries (Rubus chamaemorus)

Roadside fertilizer?

Several Alaska researchers studied the vegetation along the Dalton Highway in moist-acidic tussock-tundra in 2006. The pH of the roadside that is annually covered in fine dust from the road, increased over time from 4 to 6. . The amount of grasses did, too as well as cloudberry, Rubus chamaemorus. The fine dust may be adding a bit of fertilizer to the roadsides. It is not surprising that grasses increase especially on disturbed sites, but cloudberries are a surprise. I wonder if berry yield also increases or if it is just vegetation.

Roadside vegetation

Cloudberries and cheese

I lived in Finland for aobout 10 months many years ago.  It is there that I first heard of tasted and fell in love with the cloudberry.  One memorable way that we ate them was with Leipajuusto (bread cheese).  Its kind of like a large thin pancake of squeaky cheese.  We would eat little slices of leipajuusto with cloudberry jam on top.  Yummmm!  Here is a link for how to make the cheese:  http://www.foodgeeks.com/recipes/finnish-squeaky-cheese-leipajuusto-3808.  And here is a link to see how it looks being made and prepped with cloudberries on top! KDicristina, Fairbanks:  Cheese.

Cloudberries

 I’m very excited to hunt for cloudberries (Aqpik in Inupiaq) and nagoonberries–perhaps far. I remember seeing them occasionally in the Interior but never put much thought into them or effort into looking for them. But that’s all changed now.
Also, I’m a little jealous of the cloudberry hunt in Norway and would love to earn ‘highland gold’. The Coudberry cream sounds absolutely wonderful. I think I would fit right in with hunting and talking about when to go looking for the berries. And speculating about when they will be ripe. I love how obsessed both the Norwegians and Alaska Natives are with berries, because I’m a little obsessed as well.
Katak, M. 2015. Berries of Northwest Alaska. Available Online: https://alaskamastergardener.community.uaf.edu/2015/08/04/berries-of-northwest-alaska/. Accessed 11 Oct 2016.
Guide to cloudberries. 2011. Available Online:

Fertilizing the Tundra

This article verifies what a lot of wild stand managers have known. Adding fertilizer to wild habitats, as long as 30 years, increases grasses and deciduous shrubs and decreases the number of species. In only one habitat type – moist acidic tussock tundra – did the cloudberry, Rubus chamaemorus, increase over the years and only as an understory plant beneath dwarf birch, Betula nana. The article does not address berry yield, but I suspect, it decreased. Reductions in light levels and crowding beneath the shrubs probably made it harder for pollinators to work even if the plants produced flowers. oecologia

Phenology of Cloudberries and Lingonberries in Labrador

Here is a link to an article by Canadian Researchers who are interested in following the growth, flowering and fruiting of two of the most important wild berries, cloudberry and lingonberry. They followed phenological sequences of flowering and fruiting and documented potential pollinators in their region.  It is interesting to compare their cycles with Alaska. It was published in:

Canadian. Journal. of Plant Science. 96: 329–338 (2016)

Cloudberry and Lingon phenology

Abstract: Plant habitat, growth, fruit yield and occurrence of pollinators in cloudberry and lingonberry fields/bogs were monitored and analyzed at three locations in southern Labrador: Lanse’au Clair (51°41’ N, 57°08’ W), Red Bay (51°43’ N, 56°26’ W), and Cartwright (53°42’ N, 57°0’ W) over the two growing seasons, 2011 and 2012. The length of the growing seasons was 100–120 d (DFRA 2014) with 600–700 growing degree days (GDD) (AAFC 2014). The 2012 season was warmer than 2011. The plants recorded in belt transects belong to six families: Rosaceae, Ericaceae, Pottiaceae, Juncaeae, Equisetaceae, and Sphagnaceae. In the Ericaeae family, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, Arctostaphylos alpina, Empetrum nigrum, and Vaccinium angustifolium were found. In both seasons, the cloudberry was the first to bloom, followed by wild blueberry, lingonberry, and Labrador tea. The fruit yields of cloudberry and partridgeberry in southern Labrador were higher than those recorded in Finland, Norway, and in the USA. Pollinators were present in large numbers. Most of the specimens were from three orders: Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Lepidoptera. Temperature, precipitation, wind, and sunlight affected plant growth and the occurrence of pollinators. To our knowledge this is the most comprehensive study of plant growth, yield, and pollinators’ activity in cloudberry/partridgeberry fields conducted in Southern Labrador, Canada.

Bioactivity and Health Considerations

A very well done paper on the bioactivity and health considerations of many o the berries we have studied during this course. (Vaccinium ovalifolium, Vaccinium uliginosum, Rubus spectabilis, Rubus chamaemorus, Empetrum nigrum)  I like that they chose 3 different locations in Alaska, but I think they could have done without climate change in the title, for it was almost not even addressed.  A good read nonetheless.  Antioxidants

Carotenoids in Berries

The ripened color of the cloudberry made me curious as the carotenoid content of the berry.  I found this research paper that compared carotenoid levels of 4 northern berries.  The cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus), blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), cranberry (Oxycoccus palustris) and cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) were compared in this study.   Carotene