A Berry Exciting Time of Year
Each fall we work as hard as we can to clean as much seed from the year’s seed collecting season as possible to get folks what they need for all their various native seeding projects. We still have a lot more seed to clean!
At the end of summer and on into late fall, native plants produce many different types of fleshy fruits that have different structures, such as berries, drupes, and pomes. Most people use the colloquial and scientific term “berry” as a general way to refer to fleshy fruits, even though that may not be the correct botanical terminology, depending on the species and fruit. Even still, it’s easy to just use the term berry as a catch-all term for all the colorful native fruits.
Collecting native berries is popular for food, natural dyes, beads, medicine, and many other reasons. Most likely you have a fond memory of picking wild, native berries at some point in your life: huckleberries, elderberries, currants, gooseberries and more!
Here at Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds, we spend a lot of time collecting native berries this time of year so we can supply the seeds of many different types of berry producing species. It’s a “berry exciting time of year!”
When berries are at their peak of ripeness we have to set all other seed cleaning aside to focus on getting the fruits collected and cleaned before the birds and wildlife beat us to them, before fall rains knock the berries off the plants, and before the berries either dry out or mold as the season progresses.
Although it creates a hectic, “collect them, clean them while you can” time period, this “berry time of year” is truly exciting. All the different colors, shapes and forms of native fruits we can collect in this area highlights the immense biodiversity of the Klamath-Siskiyou region that is home to a dizzying array of native plant species. From valley bottom chaparral and oak woodlands, to high elevation wet meadows and red fir forests, there are berry producing species that wildlife rely on for food and habitat.
Fruits are important for the evolutionary success of flowering plants because the fleshy fruit protects seeds, aids in seed dispersal, and sometimes even helps with seed germination. No matter the biological or evolutionary reasons berries exist, they are colorful, beautiful parts of the ecosystem that light up the forest or woodland with adornment and nourishment, and are something everyone can appreciate and enjoy for so many different reasons.
We hope you enjoy this “berry exciting time of year” as plants produce colorful fruits for the future, and as the weather shifts and plants go dormant, waiting for the burst of life next spring.
A selection of the fruits of our labor, from seed collecting trips are below. Now is a great time to sow seeds of berry producing species!