|Mahonia aquifolium - Oregon Grape. |
State flower of Oregon and native species throughout the NW.
Can be foraged for preserves.
Yesterday, we saw evidence of this work throughout the trails. Large piles of ivy were waiting to be removed and I counted over 20 small conifer seedlings that had been recently planted. One of the abundant native species in the understory was Mahonia aquifolium of the Berberidaceae family. This is also known as Oregon Grape, the state flower of Oregon.
Oregon Grape can be foraged for preserves. This excellent little blog post by author and forager Langdon Cook explains how this can be done. I imagine Oregon Grape could also make an excellent dye, if not for clothing, perhaps for handmade paper. The scientific studies backing this claim include several summers when my sister and I tricked each other (and our parents) into thinking we had pricked ourselves by squeezing drops of the Oregon Grape juice on our fingers. It typically had a genuine effect.
I'd be cautious of traipsing off trail through Interlaken which would be counterproductive to the reforestation efforts taking place (undoubtedly powered by hundreds of volunteer hours). But there were quite a few Mahonia accessible by the trail.