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Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913.
Illustrated flora of the northern
states and Canada. Vol. 2: 276.

The cloudberry is a species of slow-growing bramble, Rubus chamaemorus L.; producing tasty fruit. The botanical name derives from the Greek "chamai" (="brown") and "morus" (="bramble"). Cloudberry is the name for both the plant and the fruit.

Other Names

Other names for the cloudberry include:
Canada: "plaquebiere", "chicoutai"
Sweden: "hjortron", "multebär", "myrbär", "snåtterblomma", "solbär"
Finland: "lakka", "suomuurain", "hilla"
Germany: "Moltebeere", "Multebeere", "Multbeere", "Torfbeere"


The cloudberry plant is between 10 and 25 cm high. Leaves alternate between having 5 and 7 soft, handlike petals on straight, branchless stalks. After pollination, the white, possibly reddish-tipped blossoms form raspberry-sized protective coverings against insects. Encapsulating between 5 and 25 berries, each covering is intially pale red, ripening into an amber colour in autumn.

Areas of Natural Incidence

Cloudberries occur naturally throughout the Northern Hemisphere from 78°N down to 44°N. In Europe, they grow mainly in the national forests of Sweden, Finland and Norway. In North America, cloudberries grow wild in the forests of the thinly populated North shore region of Quebec, and the Magdalen Islands in the Saint Lawrence River estuary of Canada. Occasionally, the plant is also found more southerly, from Western Europe through to the Baltic as a botanical vestige of the Ice Age. It is found in Germany's Weser and Elbe valleys; where it is under vigorous legal protection.

Its plant grows in bogs, marshes and wet meadows and requires sunny exposures in acidic ground (between 3.5 and 4.5 pH). The cloudberry can withstand cold temperatures down to -38°C, but is sensitive to salt and to dry conditions.


Unlike most brambles, the cloudberry is not self-pollinating. Pollination requires a plant of the opposite sex. Wide distribution occurs due to the opening of capsules by birds and animals and the excretion of the indigestible seeds. Further distribution arises through its rhizomes; developing extensive berry patches.

Despite its modern demand as a delicacy exceeding supply - particularly in Norway - the cloudberry is principally a wild plant.

Since the middle of the 1990s, however, the cloudberry has formed part of the "Northberry" Research Project. The Norwegian government, in co-operation with Finnish, Swedish and Scottish counterparts, has vigorously pursued the aim of enabling commercial production of various wild berries. (Norway imports 200 - 300 tons of cloudberries per year from Finland). Beginning in 2002, bred plant varieties - "Apolto" (male), "Fjellgull" (female) and "Fjordgull" (female) - have been available to farmers.


The ripe fruits are golden-yellow, soft and juicy, and are rich in Vitamin C.

When eaten fresh, cloudberries have a distinctive tart taste. They are often made into jams, juices, tarts or liqueurs. In Finland the berries are eaten with "Leipäjuusto" (a local hard cheese) and much sugar. In Sweden, they are also used as an ice cream topping. In Canada, cloudberries are used to flavour a special beer. Canadians also use them for jam, but not on the same large scale as Scandinavians.

Due to its high Vitamin C content, the berry is valued both by Nordic seafarers and by American Inuit as protection against scurvy. Its high benzoic acid content acts as an inbuilt natural preservative.

The Finnish 2-Euro coin displays the cloudberry fruit and leaves.

There is also an indie rock band based in Linköping, Sweden called Cloudberry Jam.

Food  |  List of fruits  |  List of vegetables

External References