Native fruits supplement local diets of fish and meat. There are at
least 19 fruit-bearing shrubs, trees and plants in the northern regions of
Canada. Like all plants responding to favorable micro-climates, fruit
bearing species tend to cluster in regions best suited to their growth.
Fruit varieties plentiful in the northern bush include high-bush
cranberry, low bush cranberry, bog cranberry (the Christmas type),
pincherry, blueberry, chokecherry, raspberry and rosehip. Less
plentiful varieties are saskatoon, strawberry and gooseberry. Blueberries
and bog cranberries are favorites. Kinnikinnick berries are are plentiful
but not widely used as food. They support local bird populations,
however, as do all the fruits. High-bush cranberry and rosehip berries
remain on the plant thought the winter if not taken by birds. They are
good to eat in the coldest days of winter. Some species, including black
and red currants and twisted stalk, are comparatively rare. In general,
fruit availability in a given year depends to a great extent on whether
the trees, shrubs or plants were frozen during the spring flowering
Many varieties of plants are also used to make drinks - native teas.
Wild mint is liked by most people. Mint is often found on the banks of a
beaver dam. It can be dried and preserved for later use or put freshly
picked into hot water to make tea. Either way it is a refreshing hot
drink. Similar drinks can also be make from kinnikinnick and a number
Reprinted from Bush
Land People with the permission of the
author. Copyright Terry Garvin, 1992-2002.