There are several definitions of 'berries' or 'berry fruits'. The botanical definition of the berry fruits: berry fruits are flashy fruits produced from a single flower and containing one ovary. Two common examples of 'botanical' berries are grapes and bananas.

grapes

One of the 'true' berries - grapes!

Berries like blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries etc, are not 'true berries' and are classified botanically as "false berries". This is because their fruits are formed not only from the ovary, but also from other parts of the flower. These berries fall into other classifications like drupes and aggregate fruits.

Drupe or stone fruit is a type of fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell of hardened endocarp (inner layer of the fruit, directly surrounding the seeds) with a seed (kernel) inside.

Drupelets are small, individual drupes, that compose aggregate fruits. Aggregate fruits are type of fruits that develop from the merger of several ovaries that were separate in a single flower. Examples are blackberries, dewberries, raspberries etc.

Multiple fruits are type of fruits that are formed from a cluster of flowers and each of the flowers produces a fruit, but all of them mature into a single mass. Examples of multiple fruits are breadfruit, figs, mulberries, pineapples etc.

The pome fruits have a structure that entirely separates the seeds from the ovary tissue - examples are apples and pears. Some of the smaller pomes are often referred to as berries, too.

There are many other classifications of the fruits, but for home gardener and people who really enjoys berries, these classifications are not so important, after all.

List of the Most Common Types of Berries

Most common types of edible berries are given in the following list:

Açaí Berries

acai-berry-listAçaí berry is a small, round, dark black-purple drupe about 25 mm (1 inch) in diameter, very similar in appearance to grapes. Açaí berries grow on açaí palm trees. These are tall, thin palms that grow up to, or even more than 25m (82 feet), with leaves up to 3 meters (10 feet) long.

Açaí palm is native to Trinidad and northern South America where it grows mainly in swamps and floodplains.

Acerola

acerola-listAcerola is a tropical fruit-bearing small tree or a shrub. Common names also include Barbados cherry, West Indian cherry and Wild crepe myrtle.

It is native to South America, southern Mexico, and Central America and it is often grown in warmer areas.

Acerola is extremely rich in vitamin C, but it also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3, as well as carotenoids, bioflavonoids and other antioxidants. Read more.

Aronia

aronia-chokeberry-listAronia is a group of deciduous shrubs, also known as chokeberries, native to eastern North America.

Chokeberries are often mistakenly called chokecherries.

Aronia is commonly found in wet woods and swamps. Berries are consumed fresh, sometimes frozen and often processed as jam, wine, tea etc. Fruits are sour.

Aronia is often named after fruit color: Red chokeberry, Black chokeberry and Purple chokeberry. Read more.

Banana

bananas-listBelieve it or not, but banana is a true berry, in botanical sense. It requires warmer climate and it is rarely grown in small gardens.

However, 'Dwarf Cavendish' and 'Super Dwarf Cavendish' cultivars can be found in small greenhouses as decorative tree that actually bear fruits.

Barberries

barberries-listBarberries is large group of wild and semi-wild deciduous and evergreen shrubs from 1–5 m (3–16 feet) tall. They are found throughout the temperate and subtropical zones of the world (except Australia).

Barberries are grown for features like ornamental leaves, yellow flowers and red or blue-black edible berries - berries are often very rich in vitamin C, but bitter in taste.

Since they are being very dense, viciously spiny shrubs, they make very effective impenetrable barriers and hedges.

Bayberries

bayberries-listBayberries is a large group of about 40–50 species of shrubs, small trees and trees (1-20m tall), spread throughout the world, except the Australia. Other common names include Bay-rum tree, Candleberry, Sweet Gale, Wax-myrtle etc.

Bayberries are sold fresh, dried, canned, for juice, for alcoholic beverages and even wax.

Bearberries

bearberries-listBearberries are three species of dwarf shrubs: Alpine bearberry, Red bearberry and Common bearberry.

The fruit, which is one of the favorite food of bears, are edible and are sometimes gathered for food.

Note: Bearberries appear to be relatively safe for human consumption. However, large doses may cause nausea, vomiting, fever, severe back pain, chills etc. It should be avoided during pregnancy, breast feeding, and by children and/or patients with kidney disease or any similar problems...

Blackberries

blackberries-listBlackberries are common type of false berries. They grow in the wild and in many home gardens. These berries have small dark, almost black, very aromatic fruit.

Thornless varieties have somewhat milder aroma and taste, but they are much easier to pick. Very often, wild blackberries are rerooted in home gardens. Read more.

Black cherries

black-cherries-listBlack cherries are also known as wild black cherry, rum cherry and mountain black cherry. They are native to North America.

Black cherries are similar to chokecherries, especially to very ripe chokecherries.

It is moderately long lived tree, with individual trees being 250+ years old. Black cherries begin with fruit production around of age of 10, having its maximum between ages of 30 and 100 years. Hence, it is rarely found in home and small gardens.

Blackcurrant

blackcurrant-listBlackcurrant is a medium-sized shrub/small tree, growing 1.5 m (5 feet) tall on damp fertile soils, bearing small, glossy, very aromatic black fruits. Fruits are consumed fresh or processed.

Blackcurrant is one of the most popular berries in home and small gardens. pH of the soil should be around 6 and if that is hard to meet, growing them in large containers is also possible. Read more.

Blueberries

blueberry-listBlueberries are very similar in appearance to bilberries and huckleberries. Blueberries are shrubs that vary in size from 10 cm (4 inches) to 4 m (13 ft) in height. Very often, the smaller species are known as 'low-bush blueberries', while the larger species are known as 'high-bush blueberries'.

Blueberries like any acidic soil with pH between 4 and 5.2, but they will grow anywhere between pH 3.5 and 6.5. Read more.

Bilberries

bilberry-list Bilberries are very similar in appearance to blueberries and huckleberries.

Bilberries are group of primarily Eurasian species of low-growing shrubs, bearing edible, nearly black berries. The bilberry is native to Europe, while the blueberry is native to North America. Bilberries produce single or paired berries on the bush instead of clusters like blueberries. Also, blueberries have more evergreen leaves.

Bilberries are very hard to grow and have small fruits and are thus seldom cultivated in home gardens. However, they are collected in the wild, where they grow in large numbers and cover large area (for example, ~20% of land area of Sweden is covered with bilberries).

Boysenberries

boysenberry-listBoysenberries are a cross between a European raspberry, a common blackberry, an American dewberry and a loganberry. It has a large (up to, or even more than 8g - 0.28 oz) aggregate fruits, with large seeds and a deep maroon color.

Chehalem berries

chehalem-blackberries-listChehalem berries or Chehalem blackberries are a cross between the Himalayan blackberry, the California blackberry and the loganberry.

The Chehalem blackberry is smaller than the loganberry. It has bright skin, a shiny black color and small seeds with the strong flavor. It is consumed fresh, frozen and processed.

Chokecherries

chokecherries-listChokecherries are very similar to chokeberries, sharing many properties.

Chokecherry is also commonly called bitter-berry, Virginia bird cherry, western chokecherry and black chokecherry. It is native to North America.

Chokecherries grow as a shrub or small tree - up to 5 m (16 feet) tall. The fruits are about 1 cm in diameter and they range in color from bright red to black. Taste is very astringent, both sour and bitter.

The very ripe berries are darker in color, less astringent and sweeter than the red berries.

Citrus Fruits

lemon-listThe citrus fruits like orange, lemon, tangerine etc. are berries with a thick rind and soft, edible interior.

They prefer warmer climate, however, when protected from cold winds and freezing temperatures, they can grow even in colder areas. Worst case scenario - grow them in containers and when required, place them in protected area. This way, certain lemon varieties can flower and bear fruits yearlong even in colder regions.

Cloudberries

cloudberries-listCloudberries are small amber berries that ripen in autumn. They grow 10 to 25 cm high, they prefer cold climate, sunny positions, acidic soil (pH between 3.5 and 5) with plenty of moisture in the soil.

Cranberries

cranberries-listCranberries are low, creeping shrubs up to 2 meters long and 5 to 20 centimeters in height. Edible berries are initially white, turning dark red when fully ripe.

They are consumed fresh, dried and processed in juice, jams and similar.

Raw cranberries are a source of various phytochemicals, which are under active research for possible effects on the cardiovascular system, immune system and cancer. Read more.

Crowberries

crowberries-listCrowberries or black crowberries are grown in acidic soils in shady, moist areas. It tolerates low temperatures yielding steady crops.

Can be consumed fresh or processed. It is sometimes grown as ornamental plant in gardens.

Dewberries

dewberries-list Dewberries are similar in appearance and closely related to blackberries.

Dewberries have separate male and female plants.

They are small trailing plants, growing new roots along the length of the stem. Fruits are edible fresh, but also processed in different ways.

Elderberries (Sambucus)

elderberries-listElderberries are group of shrubs and small trees often found in temperate to subtropical regions of the world.

Elderberry flowers are used for making tea, syrup and other beverages, but can be consumed in salads, fried etc. Ripe black elderberries are edible, but often consumed processed in jams, syrups, pies etc. Red elderberries should be consumed processed only. Read more.

Himalayan or Armenian Blackberry

himalayan-blackberry-listArmenian or Himalayan Blackberry is very similar to common blackberry (but larger and sweeter) and similar plants.

Edible fruits are dark blue or black when fully ripe. It is easily spread around by birds and other animals - very invasive species.

It is easily grown in home and small gardens.

Goji Berries or Wolfberries

goji-berry-wolfberry-listGoji Berries or Wolfberries are fruits of the two, very similar species. Both are shrubs/small trees that grow 1-3m tall.

In traditional medicine, the whole goji berry fruit or its extracts have numerous implied health effects, but these statements remain scientifically unconfirmed. However, goji berries are often considered as superfruit.

Personally, I don't believe everything (anything?!) that is marketed around as being 'super'.

If you have free space in your home garden, give them a try - they are decorative plants that yield fruits that is edible fresh and can be processed in numerous ways.

Gooseberries

green-gosenberry-listGooseberries grow as small trees and shrubs (1.5m in height and width) and are available as green, red, purpe, yellow, or even white gooseberries.

Gooseberries are easy to grow in small gardens - if you happen to find great tasting gooseberry in nature, be sure to cut a small branch. When home, put cutting in a suitable pot with good wet soil and soon it will grow new roots and new fruits can be expected in year or two. Read more.

Grapes

grapes-listGrapes are one of 'true' berries. It is easily grown in small gardens for tasty fruits and often for - shade!

Fruits are consumed fresh or processed in juices, wine etc.

Grapes come in numerous varieties suitable for many terrains, soils and climates.

Hackberries

hackberries-listceltis-australis-list Hackberries is a group of 60-70 trees (Celtis genus) spread around the world in warm temperate regions.

Celtis trees can grow up to 25m tall, sometimes even more. Fruits are small, 5-10mm in diameter, varying in color from species to species and edible in most species.

Trees are easy to grow and are often grown in parks in towns and cities. In home and small gardens Celtis provide shade during summer and fallen leaves are great for making compost.

Huckleberries

huckleberries-listHuckleberry is name for several plants bearing small red, purple, blue or even black berries. In appearance, blue huckleberries are very similar to blueberries, often sharing taste and fragrance, too. However, many varieties of huckleberries have taste that differ from blueberries and some even have much larger seeds.

Huckleberries are consumed fresh, but they are also often processed into jams, syrups, salad dressings etc. They were often used in traditional medicine, too.

Indian Plum - Osoberry

indian-plum-osoberry-list Indian plum or Osoberry is a shrub 1.5 - 4.5m tall with small, 1.3cm (half inch) long fruits, dark blue when ripe, resembling small plums.

The osoberries are dioecious plants - male and female flowers occur on different plants, so when planning them in the garden, make room for more plants, unless there are male plants near by.

Jostaberry

jostaberries-listJostaberries are cross between the black currant, the North American coastal black gooseberry and the European gooseberry.

Almost black berries are smaller than a gooseberry and a bit larger than a blackcurrant. Fruits are edible and often cooked. Like blackcurrants, jostaberry fruits freeze well.

When growing in small gardens, keep in mind that the ripe fruits can be kept on the bush in good condition through entire late summer. However, birds like jostaberries and fruits must be protected by nets. Read more.

Juniper Berries

juniper-berry-listJuniper berries are group of 50-60 plants, spread in Northern Hemisphere. Note that all juniper plants grow berry like fruits - some are too bitter to eat and some are mildly toxic and NOT recommended for human consumption.

Junipers vary greatly in plant and fruit size - most fruits are around 1 - 1.3 cm (half inch) in diameter, but there are also much larger fruits (2.5cm, one inch).

Mostly, they are very resilient plants, requiring very little care.

Kotataberries

kotata-berry-listKotata berries, kotata blackberries or kotataberries are cross between various blackberry species and red raspberry. It is very similar to Marionberry, but it is more tolerant to cold and fruits are little bit sturdier.

Kotata berries are deep black, medium in size.

Plants are easily grown - one of the blackberries recommended for home and small gardens.

Lingonberries and Cowberries

lingonberry-listMain difference between lingonberries and cowberries is that lingonberries grow in North America and the leaves are 5–18 mm (0.2–0.7 in) long, while cowberries grow Eurasia and the leaves are 10–30 mm (0.4–1.2 in) long.

Lingonberries and cowberries are very similar to bearberries and are even called bearberries, beaverberry, foxberry, mountain bilberry etc.

Lingonberries and cowberries are very resilient plants, growing by spreading underground stems and forming dense colonies, often covering very large areas.

Loganberries

loganberries-listModern loganberries are derived from a cross between 'Aughinbaugh' blackberry (female parent) and 'Red Antwerp' raspberry (male parent).

Berries of varying maturity grow on a single, thorny plant, extending the crop season - great for small and home gardens. Plants are sturdy, very resistant to frost and various diseases.

Well treated loganberry plant can produce 6-8kg of berries over period of two months. After harvest, two year old canes should be cut off.

Marionberries

marionberries-listMarionberries or Marion Blackberries are cross between Chehalem and Olallie blackberries.

Marionberries plants produce only few canes, but those are up to 6m long, with spiny vines and long and strong laterals with numerous berries.  Berries are black, medium in size, with strong and complex flavor.

Marionberries are consumed fresh, frozen, in pies, jams, ice creams etc.

Mulberries

mulberries-listMulberries is a group of 10-15 species that grow as a tree in wild and in many small and home gardens.

The mulberry fruit is 2–5 cm long. Generally, there are white, red and black mulberries with darker varieties having stronger and more aromatic fruits.

Mulberries are consumed fresh, right from the tree, but also processed in numerous ways.

Nannyberries

nannyberries-listNannyberry is also known as Sheepberry or Sweet Viburnum (lat. Viburnum lentago). It is a shrub or often a small tree, sometimes up to a 10m tall.

Nannyberries are small and round, blue-black in color when fully ripe. The fruits have relatively thick skin, they are refreshingly sweet-sour and juicy.

Olallieberries

olallieberries-listOlallieberries are cross between the loganberry (a cross between blackberry and raspberry) and the youngberry (a cross between blackberry and dewberry).

Commercially, it is mostly grown in California. In small and home gardens, olallieberries are grown like many other blackberry based berries. They are consumed fresh, frozen or processed.

Oregon Grapes

oregon-grapes-listOregon grapes are small evergreen shrubs growing 1.5m tall and wide. They are very decorative plants with dense clusters of yellow flowers in spring, followed by dark blue berries later.

They are used for landscaping since Oregon grapes shrub is resistant to summer drought and tolerates poor soils.

Fruits are edible fresh and sometimes processed in jellies and jams.

Pineberries

pineberries-listPineberries are, simply put - strawberries :)

Although pineberries have flavor that resemblance pineapples and are white in color, they are produced from different strawberry cultivars that growers selected for appearance, taste and fragrance. Therefore, pineberries are strawberries.

Pineberries are disease resistant, have relatively smaller fruits and lower crop yield. However, for home and small gardens, it is one of the 'must have' berries :)

Pink Currant

pinkcurrant-listPink currants are very similar to white currants and are grown as decorative plants and for edible, very tasty fruits.

Like other currants, pink currants are consumed fresh and processed in jams, juices, jellies etc. Read more.

Pomegranate

pomegranate-listPomegranate is a berry, 5–15 cm (2-6 inches) in diameter, rounded in shape, with thick, red-brownish skin. The number of seeds can vary from 200 to about 1400 seeds.

Plant is very ornamental, especially when flowering and some people grow them for their flowers and fruits are just a 'byproduct', loaded with vitamin C and other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Pomegranate is low maintenance plant which often grows in the wild better than in some gardens. Read more.

Raspberries

raspberries-list Raspberries are small, red false berries that ripen during summer and autumn. They come in large number of varieties and are common berry found in many small gardens. Read more.

Redcurrant

redcurrants-listRedcurrant or red currant is shrub 1.5 to 2m tall producing 3–4 kg of berries from mid to late summer per shrub.

Redcurrant fruits are bright red, about 8–12 mm in diameter, with 4–10 berries on each raceme.

Redcurrant shrubs are relatively low-maintenance plants - they prefer positions of partial to full sun and can grow in most types of garden soil. Read more.

Rose Hips

rose-hip-list Rose hips are the fruits of the rose plant. Rose hips are typically orange-red in color, can be consumed fresh, but are more often processed into various jams, jellies and similar.

Any larger quantities of rose hips are collected in rose gardens and from wild roses. Read more.

Salmonberries

salmonberries-listSalmonberry is plant that grows as a 1-4m tall shrub. Salmonberry fruits are 1.5–2 cm long, with many drupelets which resemble a large yellow to red-orange raspberries.

Salmonberries are edible, but many people consider them to lack behind raspberries and similar berries in taste and aroma. These, however, depend on location and growing conditions.

Salmonberries are consumed fresh and processed in various jellies, jams and similar.

Salmonberries are low maintenance plants and require almost no care.

Sea-Buckthorn Berries

common-sea-buckthorn-berries-listThe sea-buckthorns are group of plants, deciduous shrubs 0.7 to 5m tall, found over a wide area of Europe and Asia.

They are tolerant of salt in the air and soil, but require full sunlight. The sea-buckthorns typically grow in dry, sandy areas.

Common sea-buckthorn is often grown as an decorative plant in parks and gardens. Fruits are usually processed into tea, juice or syrup.

Strawberries

strawberries-listStrawberries are one of the most popular fruits in general. It is grown in small and home gardens, indoors, in greenhouses, commercially on large areas etc.

Strawberry is not a botanical berry, but an aggregate accessory fruit, but actually, who cares :)

They are available in the form of many types and varieties, that often require very little care, except regular watering, pruning, picking and checking against diseases and pests, especially birds. Read more.

Tayberries

tayberries-listTayberries are a cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry, with sweeter, larger and more aromatic fruits when compared with the loganberry (also a cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry).

Fruits are consumed raw and processed.

Tayberries are popular type of berries for small and home gardens - easy to grow and fruits hold firmly on the shrubs.

Thimbleberries

thimbleberries-listThimbleberry is a plant that grows as dense shrub up to 2.5 meters tall. It is native to western and northern North America and the Great Lakes region. Thimbleberries are not a true berries, but an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets.

Fruits are consumed fresh and consumed. Birds like to eat thimbleberries, so protection of some sort is required.

Plant is very decorative and it is often grown as such.

Tomatoes

tomatoes-listTomatoes are true berries (a simple fruit having seeds and pulp produced from a single ovary).

Tomatoes are available in huge number of varieties that vary in size, color, vegetation period etc.

They are commonly grown in small and home gardens and consumed fresh, in various dishes or processed as catchup and similar. Read more.

Watermelon

watermelon-listLike tomatoes, watermelons are true berries, too.

They can be easily grown in home and small gardens, but they require space, good and moist soil and often protection from various diseases and pests.

However, who doesn't like a slice of cold watermelon during summer heat ... Read more.

White currant

whitecurrants-listWhite currant (or whitecurrant) is an albino cultivar of the red currant and its berries are sweeter than red currant berries.

Like other currants, white currants are low maintenance plants and their fruits are consumed fresh and processed.

In small gardens, many people simply mix currants in a single row of plants - blackcurrants, red currants, pink currants, white currants and yellow currants. Read more.

Yellow Currants

yellow-currants-listYellow currants are very similar to white and pink currants and are grown as decorative plants and for edible, very tasty fruits. They are somewhat smaller and sweeter than red currants.

Like other currants, yellow currants are consumed fresh and processed in jams, juices, jellies etc. Read more.


Obviously, there are many plants considered as 'berries' that can find place in any home or small garden, regardless of position, climate, soil and terrain.

Since many berries grow for years, even decades, before planting them, careful planing is required. Or plant them in large pots and relocate as needed or desired.

 

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