A productive walk in the forest

You know how work is, you need to take a break from time to time. So there i was, on the forest next to my work place, walking on my finest Allen Edmond shoes picking some greens for dinner.

Fiddle ferns, melon berry stalks, and not many devil’s club shoots because I didn’t have gloves.


Yep, good on the ole budget. I had mixed collected greens, fried poke stalks, cornbread on 5/11 for supper. Good haul there…I’ve not actually tried those in your photo.

All of these are pretty fantastic. The fiddle ferns are tender but with a good bite that doesn’t go away when you cook them. The melon berry stalks, I wish everybody could try them. Texture of a asparagus that tastes like a blend of melon and cucumber. The devil’s club shoots are a minty cabbage-like thing going on.

I’m wearing hiking boots tomorrow :smiley:


I had to Google Allen Edmond shoes… :laughing:

I’ve done something like that where I’m coming home from work and notice one thing in the orchard I need to quickly deal with, whence I notice another thing and another thing … and next thing you know I have dirt all over my nice work shoes.

Those greens look yummy!


Do you know any other names for the “melon berry”. Google seems to think that name is just for che.

I believe it’s Streptopus amplexifolius aka “watermelon berry”


My bad, water Mellon berry, Streptopus amplexifolius, a gorgeous delicate dwelling of the forest floor. I should add that you do not want to confuse it with the false hellebore, veratrum viride; a single stalk of those can kill you.


Okay. I have that in the woods here. It is never abundant though so harvest would not be an option. I wonder if I have a weak growing strain, or if it just prefers different conditions.

The ones in the old growth forest park near me seem most vigorous growing in muddy ground next to flowing streams. I’ve tasted the fruit, but never tried the stalks.


Maybe I need to try transplanting some then. Mine are growing in drier areas.

They are very picky about conditions but if they hit their stride they thrive.

They like the humid environment of a sparsely populated forest floor. To emulate that at home you want a fairly shaded area to filtered sunlight, a highly organic soil, and a very thick layer of mulch to hold onto humidity. Don’t let the soil dry.

Here in south central Alaska we are blessed with conditions that grow them fatter than on most other places. Where I found these they were all over the place. Sadly it is a part of the forest that once it grows it becomes inaccessible, with the devil’s club that I’m going to harvest today guarding the periphery.


I do also see there are three separate species in this genus native to both Alaska and WA that are similar in appearance/form/fruit, but I can’t find much about differences in habitat or stem thickness. S. amplexifolius has greenish flowers, lanceolatus has pinkish flowers, not sure about streptopoides. It’s possible the @JohannsGarden specimens aren’t the same species? Seems likely they are all equally edible, though.

Mine actually grow in a dry area that all the natural springs bypass. However in the past the spot was almost certainly very wet prior to land reshaping around it. I guess my population must be just hanging on for the past hundred years or so. Thinking about that makes me more motivated to transplant some into a wet area to see what it will do. I’ll work on figuring out which of the three it is too.

didnt know you guys had fiddleheads there. they look different than ours. the chaff on the outside of ours is light tan. also ours has a asparagus like taste with no bite. love them sauteed in olive oil/ butter with garlic and some ramps. great side with fresh fish or moose.

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Raw they have a good taste but the chaff is noticeable. Cooked they are great.

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The Streptopus wildflower out here is called “Twisted Stalk”. The fruits I have eaten are much more like cucumber in flavor than melon. A juicy morsel while out in the woods.


I just did a survey out back and it appears I actually have both Streptopus streptopoides (“Small Twisted-Stalk”) and Streptopus amplexifolius (“White Twisted-Stalk”) growing intermingled. S. streptopoides which by far the smaller of the two appears to have more of a loosely interconnected colony habit with long thin rhizomes whereas the S. amplexifolius seems to be occurring more as individual plants that don’t run around. I was able to make the underground observations as I dug a sample of each to trial in a wetter area (a railroad cut through the area altered the adjacent elevation to this spot which left it high and dry with all the abundant natural springs in the area now bypassing this spot.

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Although, now I’m second guessing myself. I’m not sure if the larger one is actually Streptopus amplexifolius or the closely related and visually similar Prosartes hookeri (“Hooker’s Fairy Bells”).

Update: I took a closer look at the flower morphology. It turns out that it is the Prosartes hookeri not Streptopus amplexifolius. I was able to distunguish based upon flower position. I’m not sure I’d be able to differentiate if they were just emerging shoots.