Numerous trees and shrubs that bear black berries grow in nature and in gardens. While we can eat some fruits without hesitation, we must treat others with extreme caution.

7 trees and shrubs with raw edible berries

Brombeere – Rubus sect. Rubus

Wild shrubs can be found in the wild, while mostly cultivated forms grow in the garden. The blue-black fruits are called berries but are botanically collectible drupes.

  • Ripening time from August to early October
  • taste sour and fruity
  • usable as raw sweet fruit
  • but also as a cake topping, jam, juice, liqueur, etc.

Jostabeere – Ribes id nidigrolaria

The jostaberry is a cross between the black currant and the gooseberry.

  • the fruits are black and slightly smaller than gooseberries
  • have a sweet taste
  • Harvest time is between mid-June and late July
  • can be eaten raw or processed

Maulbeere – Morus

These trees are still a rarity in this country, but they can be cultivated quite successfully. Depending on the variety, they bear white, red or black fruits, which are reminiscent of an elongated blackberry.

  • the individual fruits ripen at different speeds
  • they are juicy and also very sweet as they ripen
  • Delicious raw, but don’t keep for long
  • can be processed into juice or dried

Black Chokeberry – Aronia melanocarpa

Also known as bare chokeberry or black mountain ash, this tree is becoming increasingly popular in the home garden. This is not least due to the very vitamin-rich, berry-like stone fruits that ripen in autumn.

  • red flesh, tart sweetish
  • can be eaten raw in small quantities
Tip: it is worth delving into the use of these fruits in more detail. Not only can they be processed into jam or juice, but also into wine, liqueur and tea.

Black currant – Ribes nigrum

These shrubs are specifically cultivated as berries. If you are interested in blackcurrants , you will find numerous recipes for cakes, jams and juices in cookbooks and on the Internet.

  • the round berries are 8-12 cm in size
  • Harvest time is between July and August
  • can be eaten raw or processed
  • the taste is sour-bitter

Black Crowberry – Empetrum nigrum

The black crowberry is a miniature shrub used as a ground cover in cultivated gardens.

Source: Qaqqaqtunaaq from Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Crow Berry (2755382434) , Edited by Gartendialog, CC BY 2.0
  • the pea-sized drupes ripen from August
  • aromatic with a sour-bitter note
  • can be eaten raw or cooked

Steinweichsel – Prunus mahaleb

The Steinweichsel is one of the trees that bear black fruit in the final phase of ripening. It is more common in the south of the country than in the north. The tree is popular for its beautiful flowers.

  • the pea-sized fruits are edible
  • have a very bitter note

4 trees and shrubs with usable berries

Bird Cherry – Prunus padus

The flowers and fruits in clusters were the inspiration for the name. In addition, these multi-trunk trees also bear the names Ahlkirche, Elsenkirsche and Marsh Cherry.

  • Fruits are not poisonous
  • taste very bitter raw
  • can be processed into juices and jams

Kirschlorbeer – Prunus laurocerasus

The evergreen cherry laurel is also known as the laurel cherry . It can grow as a shrub or as a smaller tree. When unripe, the fruits are green and inedible. They should also be enjoyed with caution when they ripen in August.

  • Seeds are extremely poisonous
  • Flesh is slightly poisonous
  • Danger to life for children (if kernels are chewed)

The taste of the berries is sweet, but also slightly bitter. If they are dried or processed into jam, the toxins are largely destroyed.

Red Dogwood – Cornus sanguinea

Also known as blood red dogwood, beautiful flowering dogwood, dogberry or hornbush. In autumn these trees bear small, black-blue drupes with a diameter of 5-8 cm.

  • are inedible raw, but non-toxic
  • can be processed into fruit juice or jam
  • high content of vitamin C

Black Elder – Sambucus nigra

Often referred to as black lilac in the north of the country . If you don’t have it in your own garden, you can find large shrubs in the wild.

  • unripe berries are green and inedible
  • are often referred to as poisonous
  • when they ripen in September, they turn completely black
  • they can be used in many ways in the kitchen
  • need to be heated
Note: The burgundy-red juice of the ripe stone fruit is strongly coloring. Be sure to put on old clothes when picking and processing.

8 Trees and shrubs with inedible or poisonous berries

Blood St. John’s Wort – Hypericum androsaemum

The evergreen blood St. John’s wort is one of the smaller shrubs that can be found in sparse forests as well as in cultivated gardens.

  • Berries are 6-10 cm in size, spherical to spindle-shaped
  • are not poisonous
  • do not serve as a source of food for humans
  • branches with fruit are used in floristry

Echter Faulbaum – Rhamnus frangula

The very large shrub, occasionally tree, is also known as gunberry and powderwood.

  • bears about 8 mm large, poisonous berries
  • they are first green, then red
  • turn black by mid-August
  • all shades of color can be found on the trees at the same time
  • fall off by themselves between September and December

Common Ivy – Hedera helix

Also widely known as common ivy. After about 10 years, this climbing plant reaches its old age. It then grows bushier and bears fruit for the first time.

  • the small black berries ripen in spring
  • the entire ivy is highly poisonous
  • the fruits have the highest concentration of poison

Liguster – Ligustrum

The privet is often planted as a hedge in this country. If the white flowers do not fall victim to the scissors, they will develop into small black berries.

  • Fruits are the most poisonous part of this plant
  • life-threatening danger exists especially for small children and pets
  • Choosing this plant should be well thought out

Lorbeerbaum – Laurus nobilis

  • also known as true laurel
  • bears dark, approx. 1-1.8 cm large berries
  • botanically they are drupes
  • they contain essential oils and are rich in fat
  • are not edible
  • can be pressed into an oil (for medicinal use)

Scheinkerrie – Rhodotypos scandens

  • popular ornamental shrub with white flowers
  • bears spherical fruits between June and July
  • usually there are two to four pieces together
  • they contain poisonous seeds

Black Honeysuckle – Lonicera nigra

The black honeysuckle belongs to the upright growing shrubs and can grow up to 2 m high.

  • in July and August it bears 8-10 mm large black double berries
  • they are covered with blue circlets
  • sometimes they are described as poisonous
  • in any case they are inedible

Woolly Snowball – Viburnum lantana

This large shrub bears ovoid, black drupes resembling berries. As so-called hibernators, they remain on the branches during the winter when they are dry.

  • Fruits already appear in midsummer
  • are initially red, turning black one after the other until September
  • they are not poisonous, but only birdseed

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