Word List: Shrubs

acaciaany shrub or tree of the tropical and subtropical leguminous genus Acacia, having compound or reduced leaves and small yellow or white flowers in dense inflorescences acanthusany shrub or herbaceous plant of the genus Acanthus, native to the Mediterranean region but widely cultivated as ornamental plants, having large spiny leaves and spikes of white or purplish flowers: family Acanthaceae arbutusany of several temperate ericaceous shrubs of the genus Arbutus, esp the strawberry tree of S Europe. They have clusters of white or pinkish flowers, broad evergreen leaves, and strawberry-like berries banksiaany shrub or tree of the Australian genus Banksia, having long leathery evergreen leaves and dense cylindrical heads of flowers that are often red or yellowish: family Proteaceae baueraany small evergreen Australian shrub of the genus Bauera, having pink or purple flowers bilberryany of several ericaceous shrubs of the genus Vaccinium, having edible blue or blackish berries black boy, yacca (bush), or yacka (Australian)any plant of the Australian genus Xanthorrhoea, having a woody stem, stiff grasslike leaves, and a spike of small white flowers: family Xanthorrhoeaceae. Some species produce fragrant resins blackcurranta N temperate shrub, Ribes nigrum, having red or white flowers and small edible black berries: family Grossulariaceae blackthorna thorny Eurasian rosaceous shrub, Prunus spinosa, with black twigs, white flowers, and small sour plumlike fruits blueberryany of several North American ericaceous shrubs of the genus Vaccinium, such as V. pennsylvanicum, that have blue-black edible berries with tiny seeds bluebushany of various blue-grey herbaceous Australian shrubs of the genus Maireana boroniaany aromatic rutaceous shrub of the Australian genus Boronia bottlebrush (Australian)any of various Australian myrtaceous shrubs or trees of the genera Callistemon and Melaleuca, having dense spikes of large red flowers with protruding brushlike stamens boxa dense slow-growing evergreen tree or shrub of the genus Buxus, esp B. sempervirens, which has small shiny leaves and is used for hedges, borders, and garden mazes: family Buxaceae brambleany of various prickly herbaceous plants or shrubs of the rosaceous genus Rubus, esp the blackberry briar or brieran ericaceous shrub, Erica arborea, of S Europe, having a hard woody root (briarroot) broomany of various yellow-flowered Eurasian leguminous shrubs of the genera Cytisus, Genista, and Spartium, esp C. scoparius buckthornany of several thorny small-flowered shrubs of the genus Rhamnus, esp the Eurasian species R. cathartica, whose berries were formerly used as a purgative: family Rhamnaceae buddleiaany ornamental shrub of the genus Buddleia, esp B. davidii, which has long spikes of mauve flowers and is frequently visited by butterflies: family Buddleiaceae camelliaany ornamental shrub of the Asian genus Camellia, esp C. japonica, having glossy evergreen leaves and showy roselike flowers, usually white, pink, or red in colour: family Theaceae capera spiny trailing Mediterranean capparidaceous shrub, Capparis spinosa, with edible flower buds Christmas bush (Australian)any of various trees or shrubs flowering at Christmas and used for decoration clematisany N temperate ranunculaceous climbing plant or erect shrub of the genus Clematis, having plumelike fruits. Many species are cultivated for their large colourful flowers cocaeither of two shrubs, Erythroxylon coca or E. truxiuense, native to the Andes: family Erythroxylaceae correaan Australian evergreen shrub of the genus Correa, with large showy tubular flowers cottonany of various herbaceous plants and shrubs of the malvaceous genus Gossypium, such as sea-island cotton, cultivated in warm climates for the fibre surrounding the seeds and the oil within the seeds cottonbush (Australian)any of various downy chenopodiaceous shrubs, esp Kochia aphylla, which is used to feed livestockcottonwood, blanket bush, tawine, tarwine, or tauhinu (Australian)a native New Zealand shrub, Cassinia leptophylla, with daisy-like flowers cranberryany of several trailing ericaceous shrubs of the genus Vaccinium, such as the European V. oxycoccus, that bear sour edible red berries croweaan Australian shrub of the genus Crowea, having pink flowers crown-of-thornsa thorny euphorbiaceous Madagascan shrub, Euphorbia milii var. splendens, cultivated as a hedging shrub or pot plant, having flowers with scarlet bracts daphneany shrub of the Eurasian thymelaeaceous genus Daphne, such as the mezereon and spurge laurel: ornamentals with shiny evergreen leaves and clusters of small bell-shaped flowers dogwoodany of various cornaceous trees or shrubs of the genus Cornus, esp C. sanguinea, a European shrub with clusters of small white flowers and black berries: the shoots are red in winter emu bush (Australian)any of various Australian shrubs, esp those of the genus Eremophila (family Myoporaceae), whose fruits are eaten by emus eriostemonany rutaceous shrub of the mainly Australian genus Eriostemon, having waxy white or pink flowers forsythiaany oleaceous shrub of the genus Forsythia, native to China, Japan, and SE Europe but widely cultivated for its showy yellow bell-shaped flowers, which appear in spring before the foliage frangipaniany tropical American apocynaceous shrub of the genus Plumeria, esp P. rubra, cultivated for its waxy typically white or pink flowers, which have a sweet overpowering scent fuchsiaany onagraceous shrub of the mostly tropical genus Fuchsia, widely cultivated for their showy drooping purple, red, or white flowers gardeniaany evergreen shrub or tree of the Old World tropical rubiaceous genus Gardenia, cultivated for their large fragrant waxlike typically white flowers geebung, geebong, or jibbong (Australian)any of various trees and shrubs of the genus Persoonia of Australia having an edible but tasteless fruit Geraldton waxflower (Australian)an evergreen shrub, Chamelaucium uncinatum, native to W Australia, cultivated for its pale pink flowers gooseberrya Eurasian shrub, Ribes uva-crispa (or R. grossularia), having greenish, purple-tinged flowers and ovoid yellow-green or red-purple berries: family Grossulariaceae gorseany evergreen shrub of the leguminous genus Ulex, esp the European species U. europeaus, which has yellow flowers and thick green spines instead of leaves grevilleaany of a large variety of evergreen trees and shrubs that comprise the genus Grevillea, native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Caledonia: family Proteaceae hakea (Australian)any shrub or tree of the Australian genus Hakea, having a hard woody fruit and often yielding a useful wood: family Proteaceae hawthornany of various thorny trees or shrubs of the N temperate rosaceous genus Crataegus, esp C. oxyacantha, having white or pink flowers and reddish fruits (haws) heathany low-growing evergreen ericaceous shrub of the Old World genus Erica and related genera, having small bell-shaped typically pink or purple flowers heathera low-growing evergreen Eurasian ericaceous shrub, Calluna vulgaris, that grows in dense masses on open ground and has clusters of small bell-shaped typically pinkish-purple flowers honeysuckleany temperate caprifoliaceous shrub or vine of the genus Lonicera: cultivated for their fragrant white, yellow, or pink tubular flowers hydrangeaany shrub or tree of the Asian and American genus Hydrangea, cultivated for their large clusters of white, pink, or blue flowers: family Hydrangeaceae jasmineany oleaceous shrub or climbing plant of the tropical and subtropical genus Jasminum, esp J. officinalis: widely cultivated for their white, yellow, or red fragrant flowers, which are used in making perfume and in flavouring tea juniperany coniferous shrub or small tree of the genus Juniperus, of the N hemisphere, having purple berry-like cones. The cones of J. communis (common or dwarf juniper) are used as a flavouring in making gin kerrawang (Australian) laburnumany leguminous tree or shrub of the Eurasian genus Laburnum, having clusters of yellow drooping flowers: all parts of the plant are poisonous laurelany lauraceous tree of the genus Laurus, such as the bay tree and L. canariensis, of the Canary Islands and Azores lilacany of various Eurasian oleaceous shrubs or small trees of the genus Syringa, esp S. vulgaris (common lilac) which has large sprays of purple or white fragrant flowers liquoricea perennial Mediterranean leguminous shrub, Glycyrrhiza glabra, having spikes of pale blue flowers and flat red-brown pods magnoliaany tree or shrub of the magnoliaceous genus Magnolia of Asia and North America: cultivated for their white, pink, purple, or yellow showy flowers mistletoea Eurasian evergreen shrub, Viscum album, with leathery leaves, yellowish flowers, and waxy white berries: grows as a partial parasite on various trees: used as a Christmas decoration: family Viscaceae mock orangeany shrub of the genus Philadelphus, esp P. coronarius, with white fragrant flowers that resemble those of the orange: family Philadelphaceae myrtleany evergreen shrub or tree of the myrtaceous genus Myrtus, esp M. communis, a S European shrub with pink or white flowers and aromatic blue-black berries oleandera poisonous evergreen Mediterranean apocynaceous shrub or tree, Nerium oleander, with fragrant white, pink, or purple flowers olearia or daisy bush (Australian)any of various shrubs of the genus Olearia, of Australia and New Zealand, with daisy-like flowers: family Asteraceae (composites) pittosporumany of various trees and shrubs of the Pittosporum genus of Australasia, Asia, and Africa, having small fragrant flowers pituri (Australian)an Australian solanaceous shrub, Duboisia hopwoodii, the leaves of which are the source of a narcotic used by the native Australians poinsettiaa euphorbiaceous shrub, Euphorbia (or Poinsettia) pulcherrima, of Mexico and Central America, widely cultivated for its showy scarlet bracts, which resemble petals poison ivyany of several North American anacardiaceous shrubs or vines of the genus Rhus (or Toxicodendron), esp R. radicans, which has small green flowers and whitish berries that cause an itching rash on contact poison oakeither of two North American anacardiaceous shrubs, Rhus toxicodendron or R. diversiloba, that are related to the poison ivy and cause a similar rash potentillaany rosaceous plant or shrub of the N temperate genus Potentilla, having five-petalled flowers privetany oleaceous shrub of the genus Ligustrum, esp L. vulgare or L. ovalifolium, having oval dark green leaves, white flowers, and purplish-black berries pyracanthaany rosaceous shrub of the genus Pyracantha, esp the firethorn, widely cultivated for ornament raspberryany of the prickly shrubs of the rosaceous genus Rubus, such as R. strigosus of E North America and R. idaeus of Europe, that have pinkish-white flowers and typically red berry-like fruits (drupelets) redcurranta N temperate shrub, Ribes rubrum, having greenish flowers and small edible rounded red berries: family Grossulariaceae rhododendronany ericaceous shrub of the genus Rhododendron, native to S Asia but widely cultivated in N temperate regions. They are mostly evergreen and have clusters of showy red, purple, pink, or white flowers roseany shrub or climbing plant of the rosaceous genus Rosa, typically having prickly stems, compound leaves, and fragrant flowers rosemaryan aromatic European shrub, Rosmarinus officinalis, widely cultivated for its grey-green evergreen leaves, which are used in cookery for flavouring and yield a fragrant oil used in the manufacture of perfumes: family Lamiaceae (labiates). It is the traditional flower of remembrance rueany rutaceous plant of the genus Ruta, esp R. graveolens, an aromatic Eurasian shrub with small yellow flowers and evergreen leaves which yield an acrid volatile oil, formerly used medicinally as a narcotic and stimulant saltbush (Australian)any of various chenopodiaceous shrubs of the genus Atriplex that grow in alkaline desert regions strawberryany of various low-growing rosaceous plants of the genus Fragaria, such as F. vesca (wild strawberry) and F. ananassa (garden strawberry), which have white flowers and red edible fruits and spread by runners teaan evergreen shrub or small tree, Camellia sinensis, of tropical and subtropical Asia, having toothed leathery leaves and white fragrant flowers: family Theaceae thymeany of various small shrubs of the temperate genus Thymus, having a strong mintlike odour, small leaves, and white, pink, or red flowers: family Lamiaceae (labiates) waratah (Australian)a proteaceous shrub, Telopea speciosissima, the floral emblem of New South Wales, having dark green leaves and large clusters of crimson flowers wax(flower) (Australian)any of several rutaceous shrubs of the genus Eriostemon, having waxy pink-white five-petalled flowers ▷ See shrubCopyright © 2016 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

10 berried plants for birds

Antioxidants are an important part of a bird’s diet, helping them to endure long periods of physical activity. Berries are a particularly good source of antioxidants for birds. Those with the highest levels are ideal, though those with lower levels are important too, providing birds with winter food when their preferred berries are unavailable.


Take a look at 10 berried plants to try growing for birds on your plot.


Barberry (Berberis)

Non-native Berberis provides attractive fruits from summer to autumn and have a moderate antioxidant content. Particularly attractive to thrushes and blackbirds.

Bright-red elongate berries of Berberis 2

Dogwood (Cornus sp.)

The black fruits of the dogwood (Cornus sp.) appear in autumn and have a high antioxidant content. Finches and thrushes love to pay a visit.

Red branches of dogwood, without leaves 3


Robins, blackcaps and bullfinches are regular visitors to cotoneasters in autumn, when the berries, though low in antioxidants, provide a long-lasting treat.

Round red berries of cotoneaster 4


Another berry with high antioxidant content, both native and non-native hawthorn species fruit in autumn and are a favorite of waxwings and blackbirds.

Deep-red hawthorn berries 5


Ivy berries don’t contain as much in the way of antioxidants, but are very long lasting and an important winter food source for redwings, bullfinches and blackbirds.

Ivy growing up a frame 6


Attract greenfinches and waxwings to your garden by planting holly. The berries are long lasting and provide good winter colour.

Glossy, spiky holly leaves and clusters of bright red berries 7


Robins, song thrushes and blackbirds love the glossy red berries of honeysuckle, which are produced after flowering, from late-summer to autumn.

Cream and yellow honeysuckle blooms 8

Parthenocissus sp.

Though Parthenocissus berries are low in antioxidants, they’re long lasting and will attract blackcaps and mistle thrushes to your garden.

Red and green Parthenocissus leaves 9


For rose hips to be produced, leave spent flowers on the plant and wait for autumn. The burnet rose (Rosa spinosissima) has some of the best antioxidant levels and attracts waxwings and blackbirds.

Advertisement Brick-red hips of a rose 10


Rowan berries are produced in their masses in autumn. They make up for low antioxidant levels by providing a long lasting food source for blackcaps, finches, song thrushes and waxwings.

A mass of red rowan berries

Kate Bradbury says

Grow as many berried plants as you can squeeze into your garden. These plants provide a reliable, perennial crop of food that’s essential to birds’ welfare – and it’s a much cheaper way to help birds than buying expensive bird food.

Where I live it is an amazing season for autumn fruits and berries. Throughout the garden shrubs and trees are embroidered with natural jewels, producing a more colourful display than the spring and summer flowers that preceded them ever did. Some are already ripe and are proving appealing to wild birds; others will shine on into winter. In most cases berries are seen as a bonus, but when you get a good display you realise that they are most certainly the main feature.

Pyracantha is one shrub that is most certainly planted for the fruit: showy berries in shades of scarlet, yellow or orange. The firethorn, as it is commonly known, is a tough thorny shrub of sprawling habit that lends itself to being trained against a wall or fence. Left to grow most produce tall arching branches carrying small deep green shiny evergreen leaves. Clusters of white single flowers in spring develop into the fruits which ripen from early autumn onwards. Pyracantha grows on any soil in sun or shade but fruits best with a reasonable amount of sunlight. To display the berries to advantage shorten back the new growth to just above the fruits in late summer; something like summer pruning an apple tree.

I often extol the virtues of cotoneasters; they are such tough, rewarding plants that thrive just about anywhere. They are some of the best shrubs for wildlife: bee friendly in spring and bird friendly in autumn. Cotonester franchettii is a personal favourite with its graceful arching habit and orange-red berries that spangle the branches through autumn.I have one planted with Prunus serrula with its wonderful mahogany peeling bark. The two plants make a stunning combination when the cotoneaster is decorated with its jewel-like fruits.

Cotoneaster ‘Cornubia’ is a big one; wide spreading branches and open habit with willow-like semi-evergreen leaves. Clusters of white single flowers are followed by big bunches of scarlet berries in autumn. This year they weigh down the branches of the planting my garden making a spectacular backdrop for a white-barked birch.

Cotoneaster salicifolius is a wonderful ground cover shrub that develops into a low spreading mound: perfect to cascade over a retaining wall or on a bank in sun or shade. The small narrow leaves are deep green and the berries bright red in dainty little clusters. I have it alongside the drive and I love to see it covered with frost. The combination of deep green, bright red and glistening white is really stunning.

Sorbus aucuparia, the mountain ash has been loaded with fruit for weeks now. Different varieties ripen over a long period. The orange-red berries of the wild species were spectacular when I visited Wales in September. Sorbus aucuparia ‘Fructu Luteo’ is just at its best in my garden right now. I know the berries must be nearly ripe because the blackbirds are starting to frequent the branches to help themselves to a juicy snack.

Although the sorbus berries are spectacular and wonderfully opulent on my tree the fruits I love most of all in late autumn are the tiny golden apples of Malus transitoria. This is a dainty spreading tree with cut leaves that turn golden yellow. As the foliage alls away the small, perfectly spherical shining fruits are revealed along the tan coloured stems. Their fresh waxiness is a contrast to the shrivelling brown apples on the branches of Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ whose fruits just do not improve with keeping.

Many euonymus produce some of the most fascinating and spectacular autumn fruits. The European native Euonymus europaeus colours hedgerows at this time of the year with fall leaf colour and fascinating pink-red seed capsules that split to reveal bright orange seeds. This is commonly known in England as skewer wood or spindle. It has tough straight twigs which have been used in the past as meat skewers and spindles for spinning wool. It is at its best on alkaline soils and is ideal to include in a mixed, country hedgerow. The variety ‘Red Cascade’ has particularly fine fall leaf colour and plenty of large, showy fruits.

I am very fortunate to have two small specimens of the exquisite Euonymus cornutus in the garden. This is a small, slender shrub with sparse narrow leaves. I have to say for most of the year it is rather unprepossessing but when those pink fruits appear in autumn, and then split to reveal bright orange pendent seeds, the plants are transformed into something really magical. I posted a picture on twitter which prompted the comment: “Isn’t nature wonderful”; how very true.

The fruiting hollies are putting on a great show and there are more berries this year than we’ve seen for a long time. I start on a round of Christmas demonstrations next week and I look forward to using some of the berried sprigs from my garden. When they are this good in late autumn I wonder if they will still be as abundant for the holiday season? Hopefully the birds will leave some alone and save then for a New Year feast. A large Ilex x altaclarensis ‘Golden King’ which is at the back of a line of screening shrubs goes unnoticed for much of the year, despite its bold gold and green variegated leaves. However when loaded with scarlet fruits it lights up the landscape.

Many shrub and rambler roses produce wonderful shining hips. Rosa ‘Rambling Rector’ has loose sprays of small orange hips that have not reached their full colour intensity yet. One shrub rose I am always surprised by is the deep crimson Rosa ‘Gipsy Boy’ (‘Zieugernabe’). This always produces quite large showy hips that I know will last well into winter.

How to Identify a Shrub With Red Berries

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When sparkling red fruit captures your attention on a newly discovered shrub, it may be all about the berries. But duplicating that look in your garden requires that you identify the shrub. Berries themselves hold clues to the shrub’s identity, but you’ll have to dig deeper for your final answer. Time of year, berry shape and seeds, and the form of flower and berry clusters combine with leaf shape, placement and buds to provide the clues you need to identify your shrub.

Telltale Berries

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Whether red fruits hang singly or in large, juicy clusters, begging to be made into jam, they take the place and growth pattern of the flowers that produced them. Pendent clusters of translucent red berries on unbranched flower stems hint at the spring-flowering racemes of the garden red currant (Ribes rubrum cvs.), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 7. Closer examination reveals tiny individual stalks that hold the early-summer berries against green summer leaves. Within each fruit lies a final clue — multiple seeds, which are the sign of the true berry.

Foliage Backdrops

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When leaves accompany red berries, their characteristics offer identification tips. Glowing red foliage behind large, drooping, scarlet clusters points to American Cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. americana). The undivided, maplelike leaves attach in pairs, opposite to one another, along the stems and live in USDA zones 2 through 7. Held in the flat-topped shape of the shrub’s spring-blooming, lacecap-style flower clusters, each late-summer fruit holds a single seed, telling you that these berry imposters are actually drupes.

Naked Winter Stems

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Twigs speak for themselves when persistent red fruits provide their only winter adornment. Single red drupes peppering the length of thornless stems in USDA zones 3 through 9 suggest American winterberry (Ilex verticillata). Scars left by leaves alternate on the stems, and round winter buds just above those scars come wrapped in shingle-like, overlapping scales. A near-identical, fruitless neighbor provides more evidence: winterberry requires pollination by a male shrub for the female plant to bear its abundant, vivid fruit.

Late-Arriving Visitors

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Long after other shrubs forfeit their bounty to raiding birds, a heavy crop of intact berries narrows the possibilities in USDA zones 4 through 9. Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) keeps its radiant, late-summer fruit virtually untouched into winter. Borne in dense, flat-topped bunches that mimic the clustering habit of the apple-blossom-like blooms they replaced, these glossy true berries go ignored by birds until freezing improves the taste. Alternating leaves, bright scarlet fall color and peeling, reddish-brown winter bark are characteristic of red chokeberry.

Evergreen and Armed

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Broad, green leaves still in their proper, alternating places on winter stems slim down the pool of botanical suspects in USDA zones 5 through 9. Look for abundant, single, shiny drupes nestled in where twigs and leaves armed with spiny teeth connect to branches. Fruited branches stretching beyond arm’s length and egg-shaped winter buds with hairy, overlapping scales suggest American holly (Ilex opaca), which is known to add its spiky beauty and red drupes to classic holiday decorations.

Needle-Like and Evergreen

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Narrow, needle-like leaves paired with red, winter berries call for a test: rolling a single needle between your fingers. If it won’t roll, look for flat, alternating needles in a horizontal plane along stem lengths in USDA zones 2 through 6. Individual cherry-red, lantern-like fruits with single seeds tucked into the fruit’s open bottom say the fruits belong to American yew (Taxus canadensis) or its cousins. Neither berries nor drupes, the unusual fruits are actually this conifer’s cones, which are a favored food for deer.

What are the beautiful red berries by the side of the road?

Once the leaves have dropped, a native shrub called winterberry (Ilex verticillata) becomes especially noticeable in the landscape. Winterberry is a deciduous holly species that grows commonly in swamps, wetlands, damp wood edges, along the edges of ponds and streams and in roadside ditches throughout New Hampshire. Showy, clustered red berries are very noticeable in the fall and persist on branches well into the winter months, explaining how winterberry got its name. It is often considered one of the best plants for providing winter interest in the garden.

Winterberry has the potential to grow 6 to 10 feet high and wide, making it a good planting choice for shrub borders and hedges, especially along the edges of ponds or drainage ditches. Mature shrubs tend to be oval to rounded, with dense, twiggy branches throughout. Over time, new growth develops from the crown of the plant and larger roots to form a thicket.

Winterberry prefers full sun and moist, acidic soil but can tolerate part shade and either well-drained or boggy soils, which means it can be grown in almost any garden setting. In the spring and summer, it has dark green leaves that create an attractive screen or backdrop for other plantings. Inconspicuous flowers are borne on new growth in late spring and give way to showy berries later in the season. Like other species of holly, winterberry plants are either male or female, and both must be grown in the same general vicinity to produce berries.

Winterberry as a Food Source for Birds

Outside of being visually appealing, winterberries can provide valuable food for birds in the winter. Though the fruit does not have the highest nutritional quality, many bird species will eat the fruits when other foods are no longer available. Gray Catbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Brown Thrashers, and American Robins preferentially feed on winterberry. Other birds may also use it for nesting in the spring, such as Cedar Waxwings and Red-winged Blackbirds. For these reasons, winterberry is almost always included on recommended planting lists for wildlife.

Purchasing Winterberry Shrubs

Those looking to purchase winterberry shrubs for the landscape will be faced with making a choice between dozens of different cultivated varieties. Many of these plants have been selected for especially large and abundant fruit, such as ‘Winter Red’ and ‘Red Sprite,’ or unusual yellow or orange berries as in the case of ‘Winter Gold.’ Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) has also been hybridized with Japanese winterberry (Ilex serrata) to create more vigorous shrubs. A few of the more popular forms are ‘Sparkleberry,’ ‘Autumn Glow’ and ‘Bonfire.’

To complicate matters further, all winterberry cultivars and hybrids must be matched with an appropriate male plant to achieve adequate pollination and berry set. If the goal is to plant winterberries exclusively for ornamental purposes, any of these plants will make a nice addition to the landscape. However, in terms of gardening for wildlife, personal observation indicates that birds tend to prefer straight species winterberry fruits over cultivated varieties and hybrids. As the winter progresses, though, even unusual fruits will be consumed.

In summary, winterberry is an all-around excellent native plant for the garden and landscape. Even if you don’t try to grow it in your own yard, you can enjoy it in the wild every fall.

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25 Beautiful Plants for Your Edible Landscape

Favorite Edible Landscape Plants

Amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus)

Amaranth is a spectacular plant that comes in shades of purple, red, gold, and green. Tall flower spikes feathered with blossoms make a brilliant statement when set against a backdrop of green. And amaranth is tough—it will grow in hot conditions with little water. Use the leaves in salad, sauté in stir fries, or let the plant mature and harvest the tiny seeds. Well known cultivars include Green Tails, Red Leaf, and Love Lies Bleeding.

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

This easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant herb looks striking in borders. Its violet flower spikes are fragrant and attractive to bees, and its anise-like leaves go well in herbal teas and savory dishes. Add this herbaceous perennial to your landscape for texture, color, and fragrance. Try ‘Blue Fortune,’ ‘Summer Love,’ or ‘Apricot Sunrise.’

Asian pear (Pyrus pyrifolia)

Seasonal fruit trees like the apple-pear (also known as the ‘Asian pear’) add height to the edible landscape and color when at their peak. Unlike the flighty Western pear, the Asian pear is a crisp, juicy mouthful of flavor that’s relatively easy to grow in rainy climates. Smooth or russet, the fruit is also attractive to look at and prolific when the growing conditions are right. Consider your space restrictions and how tall the tree will be at maturity before purchasing. Popular cultivars include Nijisseiki’ (20th Century) and Kosui.

Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus)

This visually stunning plant is a relative of the common thistle—but don’t let that stop you from adding it to your landscape. Its silver, saw-toothed foliage adds texture to any garden, and its edible flower pods can be steamed, baked, boiled, or grilled. Protect from frost so it comes back in the spring and enjoy those tender hearts—a delicacy of summer.

Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis)

The bay laurel tree is native to the Mediterranean and will survive only light frosts. However, gardeners in colder climatic zones can take heart knowing this tree grows well in containers and can spend the winter indoors. A relative of the avocado and sassafras trees, the bay laurel has beautiful, dark green leaves that grow in bunches. Since the slow-growing tree can eventually reach heights of 25 to 60 feet, most gardeners control its shape and spread by pruning. (The bay laurel works equally well in hedges and topiaries). Use its leaves as a culinary herb for seasoning soups, stews, and other savory dishes.

Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris or coccineus)

If you need to fill out an area quickly and add some height to your landscape, look no further. Beans rapidly cover a trellis or obelisk with soft, heart-shaped leaves and many varieties have long-lasting blooms. In the height of summer, ‘Scarlet Runner’ provides a gorgeous splash of color, while other varieties, like ‘Rattlesnake’ have striped and speckled pods to add interest. The flowers are edible, too, and can be added to salads and desserts.

Blueberries (Vaccinium)

Who doesn’t love a fresh blueberry in the heat of summer? Packed with antioxidants, blueberries are a welcome addition to smoothies, desserts, fruit salads, and just about any breakfast you can conjure. In late spring, they sprout tiny flowers as delicate as fairy lanterns—these attract pollinators to the garden and provide much-needed food for bees. In fall, they turn a glorious red, adding color and interest to the otherwise slowing garden.

Brambles (Rubus genus)

Blackberries, raspberries, loganberries: these plants create beautiful displays when trellised or staked over a vertical structure. They also provide a lot of sweet food, perfect for sauce or jam-making, or for preserving as juice and frozen, whole berries packed into freezer bags to enjoy in the midst of winter. New developments mean thornless varieties produce delicious flavor without the pinch. And with a broad range of climate-adapted cultivars available, the range for brambles is wider than ever. Plant bare-rooted berries November to December or set plants into the ground in spring. Brambles are self-fertile, which means you don’t need more than one variety to get fruit, though mixing ever-bearing plants with the more traditional summer bearing varieties will give you a longer harvest. Loam soil and a sunny location will provide these berries with everything they need to thrive.

Catmint (Nepeta faassenii)

Although this isn’t the same plant as the fabled catnip, which causes cats to act like drunken kittens, catmint does appeal to cats who seem to like its sent. If you have a feral cat population in your neighborhood, you might want to use lavender instead. However, if you want mid-sized spires of easy-care, delicate purple flowers to join your landscape’s taller and shorter plants, use catnip. This spreading, semi-shrub plant is heat tolerant, pest resistant, and long-blooming. It’s also attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies. Use in herbal teas or seasonings and see what all the fuss is about.


Easy to grow and great with almost any savory meal, chives add color and zing to eggs, meat, potatoes, stews, stir fries, and salads. They’re also not fussy about soil, although they’ll produce more prolifically when given optimal conditions including rich soil and ample water. In summer, their purple, pom-pom flowers add interest to pathways and borders, softening edges with their fluffy texture. They’re also a favorite of hummingbirds. Grow in clusters for a dramatic effect or squeeze a few plants into a garden bed to provide a satisfying edible color display.


Black elderberry is the main ingredient in many natural cough syrups thanks to the plant’s healing properties, which have a soothing effect on the respiratory system. The berries on this striking plant also make a lovely juice or cordial, perfect for a summer picnic. Pies, jams, jelly, and wine are some other common uses. Additionally, the fragrant flowers of the black elderberry are edible—great served as fritters or in salads. Just be sure not to plant (or consume) red elderberry by mistake. This lookalike cousin is poisonous. When adding black elderberry to your landscape, plant at least two bushes no more than 60 feet apart to maximize pollination. Favorite cultivars include Nova, Black Lace, and York.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

This short-lived perennial tends to self-seed and can often spread far and wide under the right conditions. But its profuse, fern-leafed foliage is an architectural feature in any garden, with a delicate texture that adds fragrance reminiscent of licorice. Late in the season, tall seed heads produce edible seeds that go equally well in savory and sweet dishes. Favorites include granolas, curries, soups, salads, and chai tea mixtures. Or just chew them to experience the delicious taste of summer. Bronze fennel, a favorite cultivar, adds graceful bronze-colored foliage to the background of any garden bed.

Fig (Ficus carica)

Striking in shape and texture, fig “trees” take some years to establish their form and work equally well as bushes if pruned to adopt a lower growing habit. Their delicious fruits add a mouthwatering delicacy to any meal, perfect for desserts or teatime. Generally hardy to Zone 8, many figs will survive Zones 6 or 7 if planted in protected areas close to buildings. Don’t worry about seeking out rich soil because this will produce lanky growth and minimal fruits. Instead, plant in average soil amended with a small amount of organic matter to help your fig get established.

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles)

Flowering quince is a deciduous shrub that bears colorful flowers on a variety of individual stems. The traditional cottage variety, Chaenomeles japonica, is a popular favourite thanks to its profusion of pink and red blooms born in dramatic clusters. The subsequent fruit is astringent and unpleasant tasting, although flavour improves after a frost. The flowering quince is different from the tree that bears the bland, pear-like fruit commonly made into jelly—though that version of quince (Cydonia oblonga) makes a lovely background plant with its pink blossoms and pale green leaves.

Haksap (Lonicera caerulea)

Honeyberry, sweetberry honeysuckle, blue-berried honeysuckle: these are just a few of the names for this berry-producing shrub native to the Northern Hemisphere. Sweet-tart and delicious, the berries taste like a cross between raspberries and blueberries. Plant two or more varieties of haksap that bloom at the same time to ensure cross-pollination, a requirement for berry production. Haksap bushes prefer well-drained, fertile soil that receives full sun to part shade. Their delicate, lantern-like flowers and soft foliage make a lovely, mid-height addition to any garden bed.

Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus)

Also known as the ‘sunchoke,’ this prolific plant is a relative of the sunflower. It produces yellow flowers on tall stems, but is best known for its tasty tubers, which have a texture close to potatoes—and a sweeter, nuttier flavor. Because Jerusalem artichokes spread rapidly, many gardeners grow them in raised beds or lift at the end of the growing season and replant the following year. The tasty tubers are excellent grated raw into salads or cooked and prepared like potatoes.

Kale (Brassica oleracea)

Considered one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet, kale is a fast-growing member of the brassica family, which also includes broccoli, cabbage, and turnip. Its colorful, lacy leaves come in a variety of colors and textures so delicate, it’s enough to make an edible landscaper swoon. Start this cool-season favorite as soon as the soil can be worked in spring, and harvest regularly by trimming the outer leaves as soon as the plant is established. For interest, try ‘Red Russian’ with its purple stems and fringed leaves, or ‘Redbor’ for a colorful, curly variety.

Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

What edible landscape would be complete without lavender? This cold hardy plant forms lush, compact masses of fragrant purple flowers that bees love to visit. Brush by a border of lavender mixed with vegetables and experience the glorious scents wafting up from fragrant leaves and petals. Or harvest in season to add to salads, desserts, teas, soaps, and scrubs. The plants come in a variety of blues, pinks, and purples, all of which complement the edible landscape with their silver-green foliage. For more information, read 3 Recipes That Will Make You Love Cooking With Lavender.

Plum (Prunus domestica)

Glorious in blossom and when fruiting, plum trees are a good mid-sized addition to any garden needing a transition from tall background trees to shorter, foreground plants. The mouthwatering fruit comes in an array of colors—from purple to red to gold—and looks lovely when hanging from heavily laden branches. Grow where you can include other pollinators or choose a self-pollinating variety adapted to your area. Avoid espaliering, since plums don’t take kindly to this type of training.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

Native to Mexico and Guatemala, this hardy perennial produces vibrant red flowers attractive to hummingbirds. Its soft green foliage is edible (along with the flowers), and has a distinctive pineapple scent that makes it a popular and fragrant border plant. Pineapple sage is also resistant to deer, who seem to avoid its uncommon odor. Because it blooms later in the summer—or during the fall in some northern climates—pineapple sage brings some much-need color to the late-season garden.

Red currant (Ribes rubrum)

Although the flowers of this Western European native are a pale yellow-green, summer brings on a flush of deep red berries that will add color to the garden and antioxidants to your diet. Growing three to five feet tall (one to one and a half meters), the red currant is a stout shrub with woody stems and leaves arranged in a spiral pattern. Prepare the fruit traditionally in jams, sauces, desserts, and wine, or serve raw in salads, teas, and lemonades.

Red orach (Atriplex hortensis)

Photo credit: Die Grashüpferinnen

Red orach (also known as garden orache or French spinach) is a member of the amaranth family that is now widely found in vegetable gardens thanks to its heat-tolerance. Its deep purple or burgundy leaves are a lovely addition to any landscape—and any salad, and the plant holds up well to steaming and sautéing for those who prefer it cooked. When setting seed, red orach makes an intriguing display of color and texture worthy of any garden. Although known as a hardy annual, the plant often self-seeds and comes back again in subsequent years.

Rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum)

With its colorful stalks and tenacious habit, rhubarb is a winner in both the front yard and the back garden. Resistant to deer thanks to its toxic leaves, rhubarb also provides a splash of color in early spring, along with a welcome dose of nutrients. Rhubarb is a natural perennial and prefers cooler climates to thrive, although it will grow as an annual in warmer climates. Feed heavily with finished compost, and use where you can employ its ornamental impact.

Saskatoon berries (Amelanchier alnifolia)

Native to the North American rose family, Saskatoons grow most often as tall bushes sprouting pale green leaves on woody, reddish-brown stems. Thriving in full sun to part shade in Northern climates, they gravitate to thickets, fence lines, and hedgerows as long as well-drained soil is plentiful. With the right conditions, they can reach 15 feet in height. In some coastal locations, berries can get mealy if left too long on the stem. Domestication has improved the harvest, however, offering newer varieties with larger, denser-set berries that go well in jams, jellies, and pies. Martin, Thiessen, and Smoky are a few varieties to consider when adding Saskatoons to your landscape.

Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris)

This frilly edible green is a relative of the classic beetroot but outperforms that plant with quick growth and colorful array of stems. Because it’s a biennial, you will need to replant each year to optimize your display, unless you’re saving seed (which will come on year two). Swiss chard has few pests, though watch for flea beetles and slugs early in the season. Favorite varieties include ‘Canary Yellow,’ ‘Magenta Sunset,’ and ‘Rhubarb.’ Use in borders where the bright stems will be visible, pairing with Sweet Alyssum for a winning combination.

10 unusual shrubs for autumn

Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean that your garden needs to stop looking good.


In autumn, many perennials, trees and shrubs come into their own, offering flowers, fiery autumn foliage or brightly coloured berries.

Discover 10 plants for autumn colour.

Here are 10 unusual garden shrubs that look good all year, but are especially striking during the autumn months.

In autumn, many perennials, trees and shrubs come into their own,
offering flowers, fiery autumn foliage or brightly coloured berries.

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ is underused shrub whose violet berries team with flaming foliage in autumn, both held on the plant for several months. It likes fertile, well-drained soil, and sun. Find out how to grow callicarpa.


Callicarpa japonica ‘Leucocarpa’

Callicarpa japonica ‘Leucocarpa’ is similar to Callicarpa bodineri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ but has lots of white berries in autumn. The leaves also colour up nicely, turning yellow and bronze before they fall.


Enkianthus cernuus f. rubens

Enkianthus are not widely grown but have much to offer. Enkianthus cernuus f. rubens produces clusters of deep red, bell-shaped flowers in spring, and purple-red foliage and dark berries in autumn. Enkianthus prefer soil that is on the acid side.


Enkianthus perulatus

Enkianthus perulatus is a compact, deciduous shrub, that produces pretty white bell-shaped flowers in May. The leaves are a fresh green colour, before turning a brilliant red in autumn. It can also be clipped into neat shapes, or cloud pruned.


Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’

Autumn is when many euonymus come into their own, with spectacular foliage and seed pods. Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’, as its name suggests, is a small shrub. Its leaves turn a red in autumn, and the small fruits contain orange seeds.


Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’

Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’ (spindle tree) is a British native. In autumn the foliage turns a dramatic shade of red, complementing the orange-pink winged fruit, which remain on the tree long after the leaves have fallen. Grow in well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.


Leycesteria formosa

Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan honeysuckle) is a handsome shrub with trailing white and claret flowers from mid- to late summer, followed by reddish purple berries in autumn. The flowers are a magnet for bees and the berries attract many species of bird. Grow in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.


Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla ‘Eva’

Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla ‘Eva’ has very dark foliage, the perfect foil to the pink-flushed summer blooms. In autumn, its leaves turn a rich red and black berries are produced. Leave them for the birds, or use them to make wine or crumbles. Grow in a sunny spot and cut plants back to ground level every year in early spring.


Viburnum opulus

Viburnum opulus, the guelder rose, looks good for much of the year – it has with large, lacecap white flowers from late spring and fresh, green leaves in summer. The foliage turns red in autumn and is accompanied by bunches of small, bright red, fleshy fruits in autumn.


Viburnum ‘Dart’s Red Robin’

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Dart’s Red Robin’ is a spreading, tiered shrub that has large white lacecap flowers in spring and early summer. These are followed by abundant red berries and colourful foliage in autumn. Grow in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.

Sue Hamilton: Viburnum’s foliage and berries shine in the autumn landscape


Viburnums tend to be unsung shrubs, and I just don’t know why. Their showy, often fragrant spring flowers, followed many times by spectacular berries and beautiful autumn foliage, make them, in my book, a near perfect shrub.

Fall is the season for planting trees and shrubs, so why not plant a viburnum this November or December in your landscape? You won’t be disappointed and can enjoy this shrub for years to come. In fact, I think you most likely will want to plant other selections over time. There truly is a viburnum for almost every landscape situation.

In general, viburnums are what I call “forgiving” plants, in that they are quite adaptable to a variety of soil, moisture and light conditions. They don’t need much fussing over; it’s hard to kill a viburnum.

A genus of more than 150 evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous woody shrubs, viburnums are native to North America, but their range extends to Southeast Asia and South America. They are admired for their foliage, flowers and fruit.

Most viburnums flower in spring. The sometimes-fragrant flowers range from white to pale pink to pink. Some species have blooms similar to the flattened heads of lacecap hydrangeas while others are snowball types, which, to me, resemble small mop-head hydrangeas.

Many species bear ornamental fruits in late summer or fall that may be red, yellow, blue or black. Berries are a bird magnet and an ideal natural bird feeder. Colorful and striking fall foliage is common for most deciduous selections.

Most viburnums grow in any moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Pruning is rarely needed but, if desired, prune during the first two months after flowering since flower buds for the following year develop during the summer.

Viburnums range in height from 2 feet to 30 feet so landscape use is diverse. They are excellent hedge or screen plants, foundation shrubs or specimen plants, and foreground or background plants in a mixed border depending on the mature height of the selection.

If you are up for planting a viburnum or two this fall, following are my choice selections with multi-season interest – those that not only have showy spring flowers but colorful berries and outstanding fall foliage:

V. burkwoodii – Burkwood viburnum. Semi-evergreen with beautiful red fall foliage. Flowers are highly fragrant. “Anne Russell” grows to 6 feet tall. Flower buds are beautiful pink opening to white flowers. Red, yellow and orange fall foliage. “Mohawk” grows to 8 feet tall. Has dark red flower buds and flower fragrance is strong and spicy. Orange, red and burgundy fall foliage.

V. carlesii – Koreanspice viburnum. One of the most fragrant viburnums. Grows to 6 feet tall. Red buds open in late March to pink-changing-to-white snowball flowers. Foliage usually turns dull red in fall, but may sometimes display attractive shades of wine-red to burgundy.

V. dentatum “Blue Muffin.” Arrowwood viburnum has creamy white flowers that lead to blue fruit with orange to burgundy-purple fall foliage. Grows 6 feet tall. “Autumn Jazz” is vase shaped, 8 to 10 feet tall wide with red, yellow, orange, and burgundy fall color.

V. dilatatum “Michael Dodge.” Linden viburnum. Creamy white flowers produce showy yellow fruit, which is beautiful against its scarlet red fall foliage. Grows to 6 feet tall. “Cardinal Candy” typically matures to 4-5 feet tall and as wide. Bright red fruits mature in late summer to early fall but persist through winter until spring. Leaves turn russet red in fall. “Iroquois” has a dense, rounded habit with large, textured, dark green leaves in summer and orange-red to maroon fall color. Produces dark scarlet fruit.

V. nudum “Brandywine.” Possumhaw viburnum. Glossy foliage that turns dark maroon-red in fall. White flowers in spring that become clusters of vivid pink and blue berries in fall. It will have good berry set without a pollinator plant, but adding a pollinator (“Winterthur” is a good one) will really amp up the number of berries. Has good deer resistance and attracts birds. Grows 6 feet tall.

V. opulus. European cranberrybush viburnum is great for a moist site. Its maple-shaped leaves turn bright red along with red fall fruit. Creamy white spring flowers. Grows to 10 feet tall.

V. plicatum tomentosum. Doublefile viburnum. Its branches are held straight out like arms outstretched, and in spring they are completely covered with white flowers. The variety “Watanabe” blooms off and all season. Grows to 6 feet tall. “Mariesii” and “Shasta” can grow 10-12 feet tall and are noted for large blooms. “Summer Snowflake” grows a bit smaller. “Shoshoni” has exceptional, showy fruit. All selections have beautiful red to purple fall foliage.

V. prunifolium. Blackhaw viburnum. While it prefers dry feet, it’s adaptable to many soil types and to sunny and shady sites. Its dark-green foliage turns purplish-red in fall, and its fruit turns from pink to bluish-black, with a waxy, gray bloom. Grows 12-15 feet tall.

V. x juddii. Judd’s viburnum. Fragrant white flowers in spring lead to red summer berries turning black in the fall. Grows to 6 feet tall. Foliage turns burgundy, purple, and red in fall.

Dr. Sue Hamilton is director of the University of Tennessee Gardens.

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