Trees and Shrubs with Showy Fruit

Photo of wild persimmon by Henry Domke, Henry Domke Fine Art

Speaking of fall color and winter interest (see my last post by clicking here or just by scrolling down), I just came across a nice article in Garden Design magazine (the printed version) about trees and shrubs with showy fruit (“Berry Bright,” by Jenny Andrews, Garden Design, Nov/Dec ’08, pp. 30-36). 

I was hoping they would have the article online, too, but I guess they don’t do that. Anyway, it’ll be on the stands for another month or two; the article has gorgeous photos and nice descriptions of Ilex verticillata (winterberry), Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’ (spindle tree), Sorbus alnifolia (mountain ash), Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry), Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ (tatarian dogwood), Aralia spinosa (devil’s walking stick), Callicarpa species (beautyberry), Viburnum species, and Malus transitoria (a yellow-fruiting crabapple).

I have not checked these plants to find out if they are edible (or not poisonous). As I said in the last post, if the plant material you intend to use is for any type of situation where people might nibble on the fruit (children, the developmentally disabled, and people with dementia are the three most susceptible groups) then make sure that the fruit is not harmful if ingested! Several good poisonous plants databases are listed on the Therapeutic Landscapes Database Links page. 

What you do want, when possible, is fruit that not only looks attractive but is actually attractive to wildlife, especially birds. Bringing birds to the garden adds another delightful sensory element. The Audubon Society has a nice book out on the subject: National Audubon Society: The Bird Garden: A Comprehensive Guide to Attracting Birds to Your Backyard Throughout the Year. And of course there are lots more books out there on the subject. I list a few on the Therapeutic Landscape Database Plants page, but the list needs updating; I see in my latest Google search that several new books have come out recently. Just go to your local neighborhood independently owned bookstore (hint hint!) and see what they’ve got. Also some great websites with information, for example the National Audubon Society ( the National Wildlife Federation, and The Garden Helper.