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Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness logo

Berries of the Boundary Waters

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) has a wonderful variety of delicious berries.  Whether looking high or low, there's fruit to be found from strawberry plants creeping across the ground, to thimbleberry bushes at your waist, to service berries in the trees. 

  • The descriptions found on this site are not meant to be an identification guide.  Never eat a berry that you're unsure of.  Always try one berry before tossing in a handful.  Never let children berry pick unattended.

  • While berry picking, please be careful not to damage other flora in the area, such as wildflowers and baby pine trees.  Also, take care of the berry plants themselves.  

  • Don't be greedy, leave a some berries behind for others and for the wildlife.

  • Please do not leave behind litter from your picnic lunch, cigarette butts, or t.p.    

  • Also, remember to keep an eye out for our resident berry lovers:  the black bear.


Wild Strawberry (Fragaria)

Small ground cover berry found throughout the summer, most common mid-June through July.

Very high in vitamin C

Berries used in jams, jellies, juices, syrups, desserts.  The berries can also be rubbed on and rinsed from teeth as a natural tartar remover.

Leaves used in salads or dried for tea.

Entire plant can be boiled in soups and stews.

Gooseberries (Ribes)

Thorned bush berry found in July/August.  Same plant family as the currant.

Wild gooseberries can be eaten when red or black.

Used in pies, tarts, jams, jellies, sauces, and wine

Wild Gooseberries

Raspberries (Rubus)

Abundant bush berry found in July/August

High in Vitamin C

Used in jellies, jams, wine, desserts, and syrups



Highbush Cranberry




Wild Grapes

Upland Cranberry (bearberry)

Service Berries (Juneberry)