On a recent trip to Mt. Rainier National Park I was amazed to find fresh and healthy wildflowers at around 6,000 feet, and the beginnings of fall colors just one thousand feet higher! Perhaps the two seasons will meet sometime in the next few weeks? That sure would be a special treat. Anyways, this trip was my first opportunity to try the Cascade Bilberry (aka. Cascade Blueberry), which has one of the more appropriate latin names I’ve come across: Vaccinium deliciosum. The berries of this tiny little plant truly are delicious, and have a unique banana like finish to them. They only grow to a few inches tall, and do not produce many fruits, so picking enough for pancake toppings took my girlfriend, Aubrey, and I a couple of hours. That sweet and unique flavor is definitely worth the extra effort, however, compared to the more plentiful huckleberries and blueberries found in the forests at slightly lower elevations.

Cascade Bilberries

"Alpine Harvest" ~ Mount Rainier NP, WA
The Tech: Canon 5D2, 70-200mm, extension tubes, tripod
Exposure: iso 200, f/4, 1/125th
Notes: I took two exposures, one at f/4, and one at f/18, which I blended together by hand to get enough depth of field to get the berries in focus, but keep the backdrop soft.

Cascade Bilberries

The fruits of our alpine labor!

Interesting fact (from Wikipedia, of course): in World War II UK air force pilots believed that eating bilberries improved night vision, though the US Navy has since not been able to find any significant effect. Regardless, they are tasty, so I don’t need any supposed health reasons as an excuse to eat them!

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3 Comments to “Alpine Harvest : Rainier’s Cascade Bilberries”

  1. Here, here! I hope a box with some of them is on its way to me. These look delicious, Floris. You didn’t accidentally catch the lenticular over Rainier (last week, I believe)?

  2. Haha, they are delicious! I do recall seeing some nice lenticulars around Rainier last week sometime on my ride home, but no pictures.

  3. […] even the black or red huckleberries you can find at lower elevations in early September. These are Cascade Bilberries. As I mentioned last year, they have one of the more appropriate latin names I’ve come across: […]