Favorite Flora: Fall Fruits

Which is fairer – fall foliage or fall fruits?

By Teresa Woodard

As I visit a few Midwestern gardens this fall, no doubt, the colorful foliage steals the show. But, as I take a closer look at trees especially now that their foliage is disappearing, I’m especially drawn to those with lingering colorful fall fruits. They definitely add another element of interest in the fall landscape and also offer a valuable food source for birds and wildlife.

Here are seven trees and shrubs with fall fruits to admire and possibly add to your backyard:

  • Crabapples (Malus): Yellow and red fruits hang on through the winter feeding a host of cardinals and robins in our front yard.
  • Dogwood (Cornus): The American varieties (Cornus florida) boast both colorful fall foliage and attractive white berries while the Japanese varieties (Cornus kousa) offer nubby red orbs that are even edible for humans.
  • Deciduous hollies: Two native shrubs, winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and possumhaw (Ilex decidua) lose their leaves to display branches laden with berries in winter.
  • Hawthorne (Crataegus phaenopyrum): This ornamental landscape tree is noted for its white flowers in spring and orange-red fruits in autumn and winter.
  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa): When I first saw this shrub at an arboretum, I was amazed by its bright purple fruit clusters. For Midwestern climates, try a hardier variety like Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin): As I remove honeysuckle from our woods, I’m adding these native shrubs which have much more nutritional fruits than their invasive counterparts.
  • Chinese fringe tree (Chionanthus retusus): Profuse fragrant white spring blooms give way to olive-shaped fruits that turn deep blue in fall and serve up a good treat for birds and wildlife.

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