Red Berry Tree Identification: 18 Berry Tree & Bush Types (Summer vs Fall)

Branch of Red Berry Tree in oval frame on green background.

If you love red berries and want to grow some in your yard or pick some in the wild, the first step is to learn red berry tree identification tips to avoid the poisonous types.

Red berries in fall or spring add a splash of gorgeous color to the background of deep green and autumn colors, but before you put them in your backyard, there are some things to know.

For example, will the red berries stain sidewalks or patios, or can they harm pets or children if accidentally ingested?

This ultimate red berry tree identification guide can help you distinguish the safe and edible varieties that you can enjoy, as well as the poisonous red berry trees and shrubs that should be avoided.

What To Know About a Tree With Red Berries

Trees are perfect for landscaping and privacy hedges, but a bonus is when the trees produce savory fruits like red berries. These tiny colorful balls of fruits grow on trees and shrubs and are tasty and healthy, besides adding color to your garden.

The reds look fantastic with the green leaves in the background and are perfect if you want to brighten your space. They also contain antioxidants; you can add them to your meals or eat them straight from the source.

However, note that some red berries are poisonous, explaining why it is critical to know how to distinguish them from the edible ones.

You need all the information about various red berries to know which ones are safe and which to avoid. Some of the ones that are toxic for humans and pets are eaten by birds or squirrels, so that’s not a safe criteria to use.

Red Berry Tree Identification (Identification Of Red Berries)

Strawberries are the first things that come to mind when thinking of red berries, but botanically, these fruits are not actual berries.

Experts term them accessory fruits, not particular berry types that grow in shrubs and trees.4

Photo of Red Berry identification chart in oval frames.

Identifying red berries is quite simple; once you determine that tiny fruits are growing on the plant, you can narrow down to the exact species through easily observable features. The leaf shape, tree or shrub size, and the plant’s shape are the fastest ways to help you identify the berry’s identity.

Red Berry Tree Identification: Types of Red Berries on Bush

You can grow bushes or shrubs with red berries in your home for aesthetics, and the following are some common options.

1. Pin Cherries

Also called red or bird cherries, these tiny edible berries grow in a shrub that often reaches 5- 15 meters, and you can easily identify it by the rounded top. The lanceolate leaves grow on long reddish twigs, and each one-seeded fruit is usually 8 mm thick.

Close up photo of red berries and leaves.

(Image: Homer Edward Price7)

A cluster of ripe redcurrants dangles amongst vibrant green leaves.

(Image: Hietaparta8)

2. Redcurrants

Redcurrants are world-famous red berries from the gooseberry family. The fruits are a centimeter thick, grow as large clusters on thin stems, and their leaves have five lobes. People state that they are tarter than white and black currants with hints of gooseberry and raspberry.

3. Red Gooseberry Bush

Many believe that all gooseberries are green and sour fruits, but some shrubs produce tasty red berries. The bush grows 1.5 meters high with thorny woody stems and light green leaves with 3-5 lobes.

Close up photo of berries on a tree.

(Image: MrGajowy39)

The red berries are oval and are covered in tiny hairs. Also note that the fruits can grow yellow, white, or tart green, perfect for savory or sweetened recipes like pie fillings or gooseberry chutney.

A branch with bright red berries and surrounded by autumnal-hued leaves.

(Image: _Alicja_10)

4. Barberry

It is a common shrub growing in various countries, featuring tiny edible red fruits. You can detect its long shoots that may grow to 4 meters with oval clustered leaves. The berries appear after yellow flowers and typically measure 1 cm long.

5. Hobblebush

This plant is also called the witch-hobble or moosewood and is a perennial shrub, but the red berries turn black when ripe. It is native to eastern North America and thrives near swamps and riverbanks.

A cluster of ripe hobblebush berries with large green leaves in a forest.

(Image: kpmcfarland11)

It features huge oval serrated leaves, and bright clusters of flowers appear before the 1.5 cm long fruits. Taste-wise, people describe that the berries from the hobblebush are sweet, like dates.

Types of Red Berries That Grow on Trees: Little Red Berries on Tree

If you can’t turn down berries and want to learn more about them, one of your first questions may be, how do I identify a tree with red berries? The following are the top five most common types you will come across.

1. Mulberry Tree

The Mulberry tree’s scientific name is Morus, and the common species are the red and white mulberries, deciduous trees that grow tasty red, white, or blackberries. The trees grow to medium height and feature heart-shaped leaves, white catkins, and a grayish bark.

Close up photo of the Mullberry with its black and white berry fruits and its green leaves.

(Image: Adgery12)

You can pick and eat them or use them in jam and pie recipes, and if you want to grow one for landscaping, you will love that it attracts birds into your garden.

Photo of the American Holly Tree and its red berries and green leaves.

(Image: TanteLoe13)

2. American Holly Tree

This berry tree is common in homes thanks to its easy maintenance and beautiful red cherries. It has broad leathery leaves with pointed tips and generally grows into a tall pyramidal tree, ranging from 6-15 meters.

It only needs moderate watering and sheltering from strong cold winds, but the most impressive aspect is that it is not easily susceptible to pests and diseases.

3. Buffaloberry

The best feature of the Buffaloberry is that it is resilient and immune to extreme cold and drought.2 This small dioecious plant produces tiny white flowers that later form bright berries that tend to be tart at the beginning (late summer) but sweeten when ripening.

Photo of a Buffaloberry and its silver branches, green leaves and red berries.

(Image: MikeGoad14)

The buffalo berry may grow as a shrub or small tree, but in most cases, it reaches 8-10 feet in height, making it ideal for growing in your home.

Focused image of a Cornelian Cherry Dogwood with its red cherry fruits and green leaves.

(Image: mariya_m15)

4. Cornelian Cherry Dogwood Tree

The dogwood tree is massive but sometimes stays a shrub and is known for its shiny red berries that resemble coffee beans. Its leaves are long, and it has stunning yellow flowers. It is originally from Southwest Asia and Southern Europe and grows to 16-40 feet with oblong-ovate leaves that measure 4 inches long and 1.5 inches wide.

Types of Evergreen Shrubs With Red Berries

If you want a shrub or bush that stays evergreen all year round, constantly looking fantastic, with red berries growing, the following are some top options and their descriptions.

1. Japanese Skimmia

This popular, soft evergreen bush thrives under shades and is known for spreading excessively while growing. It features large, light green, ovate-scented leaves and the bright red berries look incredible, contrasting with the green foliage.

Close up image of Japanese Skimmia with its green leaves and cluster of bright red berries.

(Image: armennano16)

Clusters of pinkish star-shaped flowers appear mid-spring, while the leaves stay green all year. The fragrant flowers on the female plant will later transform into shiny striking berries that grow in bunches.

Close up image of Red Cushion Scarlet Firethorn with its dark green leaves and orange berries.

(Image: sarangib17)

2. Red Cushion Scarlet Firethorn

The most noticeable feature of this evergreen shrub is its spiked branches and red berries that grow in massive clusters. Each fruit appears round and flattened, resembling tiny apples.

It also grows into a huge bush with white flowers that show during summer before the berries appear.

The leaves are glossy, light green, and ovate, growing sparsely on the twigs. The bush prefers zone 6-9 and reaches 3-4 feet in height and 4-5 feet wide when mature.

3. English Holly

The English Holly is a model foundation plant that stays colorful all year round. It easily adapts to any setting but is quite high maintenance, thriving in zones 6-10.1 It measures 1.8-3.0 meters when mature and can spread to 1.5 meters.

Image of an English Holly with its green leaves and cluster of red berries

(Image: WolfBlur18)

It has hard leathery leaves that enhance its ornamental value but note that you will need separate male and female plants for the berries to appear. The plant grows into a pyramidal shape and usually attracts a lot of birds.

Types of Evergreen Trees With Red Berries

The start of winter doesn’t have to mean a bare and colorless garden; there are evergreen red-berry trees that stay colorful regardless of the extreme cold. Below are a few common landscaping trees.

1. Hawthorn Tree

This tree is famous for its resilience through cold weather and makes a perfect addition to your garden. It produces colorful, tasty red berries that stay intact through fall and long into the winter after blooming from springtime.

Close up image of a Hawthorn Tree with its red berries and green leaves

(Image: satynek19)

The hawthorn thrives in zones 5-9 and can reach 15-30 feet when mature. The fruits are famous for their medicinal qualities, particularly regarding heart health, and are a favorite food for rabbits and birds.

Close up image of Mountain Ash with its green leaves and orange berries.

(Image: manfredrichter20)

2. Mountain Ash

The Mountain Ash produces striking red berries from late summer to early winter, and it is noticeable by its white flowers that bloom in spring. This tree prefers zones 3-6 and can reach impressive heights of more than 30 feet.

It is generally resilient, provided you plant it under favorable conditions, and the best part is that it attracts a lot of birds during winter. These fruits contain high levels of vitamin C but are bitter, requiring a lot of sugar for sweetening.

3. Peruvian Peppertree

This evergreen tree with edible red berries is known for its “weeping habit,” where its light long, pinnate leaves drop downwards, easily swaying when it’s windy. The tree grows rounded at the top and forms yellow and green flowers from July to August.

Image of Peruvian Peppertree with its green berries and green leaves.

(Image: sarangib21)

Its distinctive feature and the source of its name is the berries’ peppery taste. The tree grows green berries that turn bright red when ready for harvesting, thrives in zones 8-12 under the full or partial sun, and grows 26 feet high and 20 feet wide when mature.3

Poisonous Bush With Red Berries Identification

Red berries are colorful and attractive, but some are poisonous. It is critical to confirm that the fruit is edible before popping it in your mouth, and it starts with identifying the most common fatal berries and their features.

1. Yew Trees

The English Yew is a popular shrub, and although the berries are not poisonous, the seeds inside are not fit for human consumption.

Its cup-shaped red berries are called the arils, making them easily distinguishable from other edible berries.

Close up image of a Yew tree and its cup-shaped red berries and green narrow leaves.

(Image: Nennieinszweidrei22)

Image of a Burning Bush with its fiery red fall foliage color.

(Image: 649399023)

2. Burning Bush

This shrub is an invasive species that you can find in residential places.

It is lethal to humans since all its parts are toxic, and removing it immediately after you spot its red-orange fruits is advised.

3. Jack-in-the-pulpit

This woodland shrub is noticeable by its cluster of striking red berries. Unlike other poisonous species, it can’t kill you but causes mouth blisters.

Therefore, remember to use gloves when handling it and wash your hands afterward.6

Close up image of a Jack-in-the-pulpit with its cluster of green turning striking red berries.

(Image: MrGreenBean24)

What Is a Thorn Bush With Red Berries?

From its name, the Hawthorn berry is a tree with many spikes on its branches. They are long and sharp and can cause severe injuries if you don’t use gloves and other protective gear during pruning.

Another famous red-berry tree with thorns is the Pyracantha, an evergreen shrub with spikes on its twigs. It grows a lot of red berries; although experts have not proven their toxicity, eating a lot of them can cause stomach upset.

How To Identify a Tree With Red Berries in Summer

Trees flaunt their red berries during winter or fall, sprucing up your garden while other species prepare for the harsh weather. Luckily, some varieties stay stunning in summer, while others showcase beautiful blooms in spring.

If you want a colorful summer, the cherry tree is your best bet since that is its perfect time to ripen. Depending on your preference, there are various cherry species to choose from as long as the prevailing conditions can support their growth.

They thrive in zones 3-9; the sweet varieties require full sunlight, while the tart or acidic options need shade. For instance, the sweetheart cherry is ideal if you prefer sweet berries, and its best feature is self-fertilization. You can also opt for dwarf versions that you can grow indoors in pots.

Types of Trees With Red Berries In Fall

Plants must adapt to seasonal changes and know when it is spring. Bright flowers and leaves are usually almost non-existent except for evergreen trees, making it rare to find red berries still showing in the autumn season.

If you want your garden to stay colorful regardless of the season, the safest options are the evergreen varieties. The leaves, flowers, and fruits of these trees and shrubs stay intact all year round since they are resistant to harsh conditions.

The hawthorn, Peruvian pepper, Mountain Ash, and barberry. Barberry are excellent options for landscaping.

They stand out in fall and winter when most trees are shutting down to prepare for the cold.

Edible Red Berry Tree Identification

Edible red berry identification is crucial before planting a fruit tree in your home because you can avoid toxic ones. Some redberry species are risky, especially if children or pets are around.5

Once you know which types are available, you are safe to grow as many as you want and indulge in their juicy goodness, whether eating whole or using them in recipes. It is also essential to have a list of edible wild berries to know which ones to avoid when you stumble upon them.

Also, note that some edible red berries require cooking before eating, while others, like the yew trees, have poisonous seeds, although the fleshy part is safe. Berries are healthy fruits rich in essential vitamins, but you should perform an edibility test before eating one.

Berries with clustered skins are typically safe. If you notice that the berries are in a tight pack and have rough skin with particles, it is almost a sure indication of edibility. Fruits that fit this description include mulberries, raspberries, and thimbleberries.

Edible and Non-Edible Wild Red Berry Tree Identification

Everyone should know that not all juicy berries are safe to eat, whether in the wild or near your home. Recognizing redberry varieties is handy because you can tell which ones are poisonous and risky for you and your pets.

The first rule is to avoid eating a berry you cannot identify. If it is unfamiliar and you have never eaten one, it may not be a great idea to try it. Regardless of the situation, poisonous wild berries aren’t worth the risk if it means endangering your life.

There are simple ways to know that you are dealing with a non-edible wild berry. Generally, the following plants are unsafe for human consumption.

  1. Berries from trees produce milky or strange-colored sap.
  2. Red berries wrapped in bulbs or enclosed in pods
  3. Trees with sharp spines or pointy hairs.
  4. Three-leafed trees resembling poison ivy.
  5. Trees whose red berries irritate when their juice contacts the skin.

Red Berry Tree Identification: Proceeding With Caution

Undoubtedly, red berries are tasty fruits rich in vitamins and look great growing in your garden. However, not all of them are safe, especially species you are unfamiliar with and have never previously eaten.

They are risky to grow around your house if you have children or pets since they cannot tell the difference. Some also judge the berries’ edibility by checking whether birds and other animals eat them.

Note that being safe for animals doesn’t make it okay to eat because humans have different digestive systems, and some components are unsafe for their bodies. If you are unsure, don’t eat, but still, you can watch out for symptoms like vomiting, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, cramps, and other digestive issues and seek immediate medical attention.

Red berry trees are beautiful plants to grow in your garden and for your landscaping needs. A bonus is that they can produce edible, highly nutritious, and medicinal fruits that you can eat whole or incorporate into your meal processes.

Depending on your needs, you can grow shrubs or trees, but the essential takeaway is that not all red berries are safe for consumption or contact. Some fruits are toxic, while sometimes, the entire plant is poisonous.

Therefore, before planting bushes and trees with red berries, proper red berry tree identification is crucial to distinguish which varieties are safe to eat and which to avoid; otherwise, you may risk your life and that of your loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions About Red Berry Tree Identification

What Are the Examples Berry Tree Types?

Red berries can grow on trees or shrubs, depending on the species, while some grow on evergreen plants, meaning that the flowers and fruits are still visible throughout the year, including in fall and winter. Berry trees include mulberry, red cherry, cherry, dogwood, Buffalo berry, and American Holly, while others grow in bushes like the redcurrants, barberryBarberry, pin cherries, and gooseberry. However, it is best to avoid species like the burning bush, pokeweed, and yew, which are poisonous.

Is Every Small Red Fruit on Tree Edible?

Only some tiny red berries are edible. Some are very poisonous when ingested by humans and animals and can cause digestive issues or other fatal complications. Therefore, eating what you are familiar with is best to avoid such risks.

Can You Eat Little Red Berries in Yard?

Various tiny red berries are safe for consumption, and you can eat them when you find them in your garden. However, making the right red berry tree identification is crucial to avoid eating a poisonous fruit with serious health consequences.

What Is the Tree With White Flowers and Red Berries?

You can identify many redberry trees with white flowers that later develop into bright red berries, but the most common species are the Red Chokeberry and the Mulberry. The chokeberry has white blooms that turn to berries in the summer through late fall, while the mulberry has white flowers that form catkin clusters.

Which Trees Have Red Berries in Summer?

Various trees can have berries in the summer, but the surest type that stays intact is the red berry. Various cherry trees find the season the best time to ripen, and you can choose from the long list of species to find one to plant, but remember to provide a conducive environment for their growth.

What Are Small Red Berries on Bush?

Red berries can grow on massive or small trees, but sometimes the plant grows into a massive bush. You will find common berries in shrubs or bushes, including pin cherries, barberry, red gooseberries, redcurrants, and hobblebush.

What Is the Importance of Red Berry Tree Identification?

As with any other wild fruit, it is crucial to know the red berry you want to eat to help you confirm whether it is safe or toxic. Otherwise, it is risky to eat any fruit you find without confirming which species it is; you may have digestive problems and other complications that may turn fatal.


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