Finding & identifying wild berries
Hello! In this tutorial, we are going to learn all about our wild fruits and berries. Including, what they are and which trees they come from. Afterwards, if you would love some more resources about our most common fruits and berries, why not check out our nature walk activities or field guides. Are you ready? Lets get started!
Let's learn about our wild fruits and berries
What is a wild berry?
Wild berries are any type of fruit or berry found growing in an uncultivated or undomesticated state. While many are truly wild, some, especially fruit trees, may have been planted long ago – especially those found growing long our hedgerows.
While the term wild berry might imply yummy edible juiciness, not all wild berries are edible. In fact, many are very poisonous. So, it is important never to eat or taste any wild berry unless you are certain of its identity and sure it is safe to eat.
Where can I find wild fruits and berries?
Anywhere shrubs and trees and plants grow, you can find wild fruits growing.
- Cliffs and coasts
- Moors and mountains
- Bogs and swamps
- Lakes and riversides
- Fields and meadows
- Forests and hedgerows
- Wastelands and thickets
What are our most common hedgerow berries?
One of the best places to start looking for wild fruits and berries are the hedgerows bordering our roads and country lanes.
If you take a stroll and keep your eyes open in late summer and autumn, you are sure to see all sorts of wild fruit adorning the twigs and branches.
The hedgerow berries you are most likely to see, are:
- Black bryony
- Crab apples
- Guelder rose
- Lords and ladies
- Wild cherries
- Wild plums
Which berries are poisonous?
The following list shows some of our most poisonous wild berries:
- Bittersweet (Woody nightshade) – Bittersweet produces clusters of egg-shaped berries, which change colour from green to yellow, orange and finally red as they mature and ripen.
- Black bryony – Black bryony can be identified by its chains of beautiful red and orange berries draped like colourful necklaces along the length of the hedgerow.
- Deadly nightshade – The bright black berries and purple flowers of this plant may look like beautiful ladies (its Latin name is belladonna), but all parts of this plant are extremely toxic.
- Holly – Holly berries are readily identified by their scarlet colour and their well-known sharp, shiny, dark green leaves
- Honeysuckle – Honeysuckle berries grow in clusters between its widely-spaced, paired leaves.
- Ivy – Ivy berries grow in ball-like clusters, but can be hard to spot in autumn, as they turn a dark grey, black colour. But in summer, they are a yellow-green and can be easily found by looking for clouds of hoverflies and bees – they love the ivy flowers.
- Lords and ladies or cuckoo pint – form spikes of bright red berries surrounded and can be found growing below knee level.
- Spindle – Spindle berries are a beautiful bright pink colour and very tempting to admire. But, admire them from a distance.
- Yew – Yew berries are a bright orange-red with a deep, cup-like indentation. They are easily identified as they grow on a coniferous tree.
Which wild berries are edible?
After warning you about some of our many deadly and poisonous berries, here are a few of our most popular edible wild fruits. Just remember though, please never taste or eat any wild berry unless you are completely certain of its identity and completely certain it is safe to eat.
- Bramble (wild blackberries)
- Sloe (blackthorn)
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