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Rubus chamaemorus

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Rubus chamaemorus is a rhizomatous herb native to cool temperate regions, alpine and arctic tundra and boreal forest,<ref name=thiem/> producing amber-colored edible fruit similar to the raspberry or blackberry. English common names include cloudberry,<ref name=BSBI07>Template:Cite web</ref> nordic berry, bakeapple (in Newfoundland and Labrador), knotberry and knoutberry (in England), aqpik or low-bush salmonberry (in Alaska – not to be confused with true salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis),<ref>University of Alaska @ Fairbanks, Cooperative Extension Service, Cloudberrries</ref> and averin or evron (in Scotland).

Description

Male flower

Unlike most Rubus species, the cloudberry is dioecious, and fruit production by a female plant requires pollination from a male plant.<ref name=thiem/>

The cloudberry grows to Template:Cvt high.<ref name=thiem/> The leaves alternate between having 5 and 7 soft, handlike lobes on straight, branchless stalks. After pollination, the white (sometimes reddish-tipped) flowers form raspberry-sized aggregate fruits which are more plentiful in wooded rather than sun-exposed habitats.<ref name=thiem/> Consisting of between 5 and 25 drupelets, each fruit is initially pale red, ripening into an amber color in early autumn.

Distribution and ecology

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Cloudberries are a circumpolar boreal plant, occurring naturally throughout the Northern Hemisphere from 78°N, south to about 55°N, and are scattered south to 44°N mainly in mountainous areas and moorlands.<ref name=thiem/> In Europe, they grow in the Nordic countries, Baltic states and particularly in Poland.<ref name=thiem/> They occur across northern Russia east towards the Pacific Ocean as far south as Japan.<ref name=thiem/> Due to peatland drainage and peat exploitation, they are considered endangered<ref name=thiem/> and are under legal protection in Germany's Weser and Elbe valleys, and at isolated sites in the English Pennines and Scottish Highlands. A single, fragile site exists in the Sperrin Mountains of Northern Ireland.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In North America, cloudberries grow wild across Greenland, most of northern Canada, Alaska, northern Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maine and New York.<ref name=thiem/><ref>Template:BONAP</ref>

Wide distribution occurs due to the excretion of the indigestible seeds by birds and mammals. Further distribution arises through its rhizomes which are up to 10 m long and grow about 10–15 cm below the soil surface, developing extensive and dense berry patches.<ref name=thiem/> Cuttings of these taken in May or August are successful in producing a genetic clone of the parent plant.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> The cloudberry grows in bogs, marshes. wet meadows, tundra and altitudes of Template:Convert above sea level in Norway, requiring acidic ground (between 3.5 and 5 pH).<ref name=thiem/>

Cloudberry leaves are food for caterpillars of several Lepidoptera species. The moth Coleophora thulea has no other known food plants. See also List of Lepidoptera that feed on Rubus.

Cultivation

Ripe cloudberries

Despite great demand as a delicacy (particularly in Sweden, Norway and Finland) the cloudberry is not widely cultivated and is primarily a wild plant. Wholesale prices vary widely based on the size of the yearly harvest, but cloudberries have gone for as much as €10/kg (in 2004).<ref name="bloomberg-Heiskanen-&-Erkheikki">Template:Cite news</ref>

Since the middle of the 1990s, however, the species has formed part of a multinational research project. Beginning in 2002, selected cultivars have been available to farmers, notably 'Apolto' (male), 'Fjellgull' (female) and 'Fjordgull' (female). The cloudberry can be cultivated in Arctic areas where few other crops are possible, for example along the northern coast of Norway.

Uses

Unripe cloudberry
Cloudberry jam

The ripe fruits are golden-yellow, soft and juicy, and are rich in vitamin C.<ref name=thiem/> When eaten fresh, cloudberries have a distinctive tart taste. When over-ripe, they have a creamy texture somewhat like yogurt and a sweetened flavor. They are often made into jams, juices, tarts, and liqueurs. In Finland, the berries are eaten with heated Template:Lang (a local cheese; the name translates to "bread-cheese"), as well as cream and sugar. In Sweden, cloudberries (Template:Lang) and cloudberry jam are used as a topping for ice cream, pancakes, and waffles. In Norway, they are often mixed with whipped cream and sugar to be served as a dessert called Template:Lang (cloudberry cream), as a jam or as an ingredient in homemade ice cream. Cloudberry yoghurt—Template:Lang or Template:Lang—is a supermarket item in Norway.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, cloudberries are used to make "bakeapple pie" or jam. Arctic Yup'ik mix the berries with seal oil, reindeer or caribou fat (which is diced and made fluffy with seal oil) and sugar to make "Eskimo ice cream" or akutaq.<ref name=thiem/> The recipes vary by region. Along the Yukon and Kuskokwim River areas, white fish (pike) along with shortening and sugar are used. The berries are an important traditional food resource for the Yup'ik.

Due to its high vitamin C content,<ref name=thiem/> the berry is valued both by Nordic seafarers and Northern indigenous peoples. Its polyphenol content, including flavonoid compounds such as ellagic acid, appears to naturally preserve food preparations of the berries.<ref name="thiem">Template:Cite journal</ref> Cloudberries can be preserved in their own juice without added sugar, if stored cool.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Alcoholic drinks

In Nordic countries, traditional liqueurs such as Template:Lang (Finland) are made of cloudberry, having a strong taste and high sugar content. Cloudberry is used as a flavouring for making akvavit. In northeastern Quebec, a cloudberry liqueur known as Template:Lang (aboriginal name) is made.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Nutrients and phytochemicals

Cloudberries are rich in vitamin C and ellagic acid,<ref name=thiem/> citric acid, malic acid, α-tocopherol, anthocyanins and the provitamin A carotenoid, β-carotene in contents which differ across regions of Finland due to sunlight exposure, rainfall or temperature.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> The ellagitannins lambertianin C and sanguiin H-6 are also present.<ref name=Kahkonen>Template:Cite journal</ref> Genotype of cloudberry variants may also affect polyphenol composition, particularly for ellagitannins, sanguiin H-6, anthocyanins and quercetin.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

Polyphenol extracts from cloudberries have improved storage properties when microencapsulated using maltodextrin DE5-8.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> At least 14 volatile compounds, including vanillin, account for the aroma of cloudberries.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

Cultural references

The cloudberry appears on the Finnish version of the 2 euro coin.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The name of the hill Template:Lang in Breadalbane in the Scottish Highlands means "Hill of the Cloudberries" in Scottish Gaelic.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Harvesting on public property

In some northern European countries such as Norway, a common use policy to non-wood forest products allows anyone to pick cloudberries on public property and eat them on location, but only local residents may transport them from that location and only ripe berries may be picked.<ref name=berryFAO>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Since 1970 in Norway, while it has been illegal to pick unripe cloudberries, transporting ripe cloudberries from the harvest location is permitted in many counties.<ref name=berryFAO />

References

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Further reading

External links

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