How to identify wild fruits

Here are 12 familiar, and less familiar, wild fruits to look out for when in the countryside this autumn.

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Illustrations by Felicity Rose Cole

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1

Dog rose Rosa canina (above)

Vigorous hedgerow briar: our most common wild rose. Oval to flask-shaped scarlet rosehips.

2

Black nightshade Solanum nigrim

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Tiny, tomato-like annual with dull black berries. Not to be confused with poisonous deadly nightshade.

3

Burnet rose Rosa pimpinellifolia

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Low shrub of coastal dunes and chalk grassland. Unlike other wild roses produces purple-black hips.

4

Bittersweet Solanum dulcamara

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Woody scrambler with red, oval, bitter-sweet berries. Also known as woody nightshade.

5

Spindle Euonymus europaeus

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Small hedgerow shrub with garish clusters of coral-pink berries held in orange sheaths.

6

Black bryony Tamus communis

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Britain’s only wild yam. Climbing tendrils twine around hedgerow plants. Red, poisonous berries.

7

Elder Sambucus nigra 

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Small hedgerow tree with flat clusters of edible black berries. Frothy white flowers in May–June.

8

Honeysuckle lonicera periclymenum

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Vigorous shrub that entwines around trees and hedgerow plants. Clusters of bright red berries.

9

Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna

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Small or medium-sized thorny tree of hedgerows, rough ground and upland areas. Scarlet oval ‘haws’.

10

Rowan Sorbus aucuparia

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Upland tree with clusters of small, scarlet berries (popular with birds). Also known as mountain ash.

11

Wild service tree Sorbus torminalis

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Often-overlooked tree of ancient woods. Clusters of brown, spotted fruits (once used to flavour beer).

12

Crab-apple Malus sylvestris

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Thorny tree with small, hard, yellow, apple-shaped fruits that can be used to make jelly.