- White Drupelet Syndrome – Blackberry or Raspberries With White Spots
- White Drupelet Disorder
- What Causes White Spots on Raspberries and Blackberries?
- Preventing Blackberries or Raspberries with White Spots
- Raspberry problem: White Drupelet Disorder
- Garden Detective: Blackberries’ white spots spark concerns | The Sacramento Bee
- Blackberry (Rubus spp.)-Dry Cell (Dry Berry) Syndrome
- blackberry fruit problem
- Blackberries: Health Benefits and Nutrition Information
- What are the benefits of blackberries?
- What are blackberries?
- Nutritional benefits of blackberries
- Can blackberries protect against heart disease?
- Can blackberries help prevent cancer?
- Can blackberries boost brainpower?
- Are blackberries antibacterial and antiviral?
- Can blackberries help inflammatory conditions?
- Nutritionally, what is the best way to cook blackberries?
- Blackberry recipes
- Enjoyed this? Read more…
- Seeds and Berries
White Drupelet Syndrome – Blackberry or Raspberries With White Spots
If you’ve noticed a blackberry or raspberry with white drupelets, then it likely suffers from White Drupelet Syndrome. What is this disorder and does it hurt the berries?
White Drupelet Disorder
A drupelet is the individual ‘ball’ on the berry fruit that surrounds the seeds. Occasionally, you may find a berry that appears white in color, especially on its drupelets. This condition is known as White Drupelet Syndrome, or disorder. White Drupelet Disorder can be recognized by a tan or white discoloration of the drupelets on either blackberry or raspberry fruits, with raspberries being the most commonly affected.
While a blackberry or raspberry with white drupelets may be unsightly, the fruit itself is still usable and relatively safe to eat. However, it is usually deemed to be unacceptable in commercial markets.
What Causes White Spots on Raspberries and Blackberries?
There a few possible reasons why this happens. The most common reason for blackberries and raspberries with spots is sunscald. Berries that have full exposure to hot afternoon sun are more susceptible to this disorder as hot, dry air allows for more direct UV rays to penetrate the fruits. Higher temperatures, and even wind, can trigger this response as well. When sunscald is associated with White Drupelet Syndrome, the side of the fruit exposed to the sun will be white whereas the shaded side will remain normal.
Pests may also be responsible for the white spots in berries. Damage from stinkbugs or red mites can often lead to white drupelets. However, the discoloration caused from feeding damage will look quite different than that of sunscald or hot temperatures. The drupelets will take have a more random patterning of white spots rather than a large general area.
Preventing Blackberries or Raspberries with White Spots
While most varieties of blackberry and raspberry plants are susceptible to White Drupelet Disorder, it seems to be more prevalent with ‘Apache’ and ‘Kiowa’ as well as ‘Caroline’ red raspberry.
To prevent white drupelets, avoid planting in sunny areas that are prone to hot summer winds. It may also help to orient your rows in a north-south facing position to minimize the effects of sunscald. Shading may be helpful as well; however, it is recommended only after pollination has already occurred.
While still questionable, using overhead watering twice a day to cool plants during hot weather (for 15 minutes between morning and afternoon) is thought to help alleviate sunscald. The limited watering cools the plants but evaporates quickly. This method is not recommended in evening hours as there must be adequate drying time in order to prevent the onset of disease later.
Raspberry problem: White Drupelet Disorder
Last week, I worked a shift in the Spokane County Master Gardener plant clinic. That’s where we identify plant diseases or insects, or make plant suggestions for specific settings, and so on. Two clients came in with the same problem and it was something I’ve noticed on my own raspberry plants so had planned to research it.
Do you see how parts of the berries in each photo are white or tan, rather than red?
That is “White Drupelet Disorder.” It is caused by exposure to ultra-violet rays which occurs during periods of hot weather. And if you live in the Inland Northwest, you know we’ve been having a heat wave over the past 5 weeks or so.
In case you’re wondering what in the world a drupelet is, that’s what each “bump” on a raspberry is called, which surrounds a seed.
After doing some research on how to resolve this problem, I learned there are two main things:
1. If possible, cover your raspberry patch with a lightweight shade cloth.
2. Water your plants overhead twice a day for about 15 minutes at a time. This will cool down the plants. If one of those times is in the evening, be sure to do it early so the plants and berries have the chance to dry off before night sets in.
According to what I read, most caneberries are susceptible to this so both raspberries and blackberries can develop White Drupelet Disorder.
My raspberry patch is just about done bearing for the season, so I plan to try the above two steps on my blackberry patch. I remember having problems on them last summer so it’s worth a try!
Garden Detective: Blackberries’ white spots spark concerns | The Sacramento Bee
Garden Detective: Reader Laurel Roberds wonders what causes her blackberries to look splotchy. “White drupelet disorder” is the likely answer. Laurel Roberds
Q: My blackberries are awesome, but last year, about half the crop looked like they’re half albino. Any idea what causes this?
Laurel Roberds, Elk Grove
According to UC master gardener Rachel Tooker, two issues that might be causing your situation are “white drupelet disorder” and redberry mite. From the photo you submitted, it is most likely that your blackberries have the former condition.
It’s important for you to carefully review the descriptions below before embarking on any course of treatment, as the management approaches are quite different.
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White drupelet disorder is an abiotic issue in the plant, meaning that it is caused by environmental stresses on the plant, as opposed to a pest or pathogen. White drupelet is a tan-to-white discoloration of one to many drupelets on the fruit. Drupelets are the many individual fleshy structures that form each blackberry.
Most often, white drupelets will appear when there has been an abrupt increase in temperature accompanied by a drop in humidity; it is especially pronounced when there is wind.
While white drupelets may seem to be directly caused by weather, they are actually caused by ultraviolet radiation. Weather conditions modulate the effect of penetrating UV rays on the fruit. Cool, humid air scatters and absorbs UV radiation, while hot, dry air allows more direct UV rays to reach the fruit.
Wind increases the movement of humidity away from the plant canopy and therefore allows more direct UV rays to reach the fruit. Because the interior of the plant is less acclimatized to UV rays, it is even more susceptible when dry, windy conditions allow UV rays to penetrate further into the plant.
Some growers use overhead irrigation early in the day to wet the canopy and maintain cool temperatures for as long as possible. However, this can be a wasteful use of water in drought conditions and can also promote the growth of plant pathogens and pests.
Another possible approach would be to provide a shade cloth over areas of the canopy that receive significant afternoon sun. While some varieties – such as Apache blackberry, Kiowa blackberry and Caroline red raspberry – tend to get white drupelets more frequently than others, almost all caneberry varieties are susceptible to white drupelet to some degree.
Depending on the weather conditions each year, your plants will be more or less affected by this disorder.
Redberry mite is another issue. This tiny pest is a big problem for blackberries, both wild and cultivated. The adults look like tiny translucent worms.
Berries infected with these mites do not develop properly colored drupelets; instead, the drupelets remain hard (instead of juicy) and stay green or turn bright red.
To combat the mites, prune out and destroy infested fruit. Both mature and immature mites remain inactive during the winter, hiding under bud scales, and migrate to flowers in the spring to attack developing fruit.
A delayed-dormant application of sulfur after budbreak in addition to an application at bloom or when shoots are 2 to 6 inches long may provide control. This treatment also helps control powdery mildew.
Several applications of horticultural oil spaced two to three weeks apart after green fruit stage may also provide control. Don’t apply oil within one month of a sulfur application. Try to plant the least susceptible varieties; “Himalaya” (the large blackberries that grow wild along many local waterways) and “Evergreen” are the most susceptible varieties to redberry mites.
Questions are answered by master gardeners at the UC Cooperative Extension services in Sacramento and Placer counties. Send questions to Garden Detective, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. Send email to h&[email protected] Please put “Garden Detective” in the subject field and include your postal address. To contact UC Extension directly, call:
Sacramento: (916) 875-6913; 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday
Amador: (209) 223-6838;
10 a.m.-noon Monday through Thursday; email ceamador. ucdavis.edu
Butte: (530) 538-7201;
8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. weekdays
Colusa: (530) 458-0570; 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays; website: cecolusa.ucanr.edu
El Dorado: (530) 621-5512; 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday-Friday
Placer: (530) 889-7388;
Nevada: (530) 273-0919;
9 a.m.-noon Tuesdays through Thursday or leave a message
Shasta, Tehama, Trinity: (530) 225-4605
Solano: (707) 784-1322; leave a message and calls will be returned
Sutter, Yuba: (530) 822-7515; 9 a.m.-noon Mondays and Tuesdays and 1-4 p.m. Thursdays
Yolo: (530) 666-8737;
9-11 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, or leave a message and calls will be returned
To read past Garden Detectives, go to sacbee.com/home-garden
Blackberry (Rubus spp.)-Dry Cell (Dry Berry) Syndrome
Cause Unknown. Many fungi have been associated with dry druplets found on various blackberries in the Pacific Northwest. Many of these are common pathogens that produce other, more recognizable symptoms. The list includes those fungi that cause anthracnose, ascospora dieback, spur blight, cane and leaf rust, and Botrytis fruit rot. Other fungi of unknown pathogenicity also have been found. In general, the dry druplets have not been found to be associated with downy mildew, sunburn, or pests such as the dry-berry mite. Symptoms most often are found in years when late spring rains are numerous and frequent. Berries with these symptoms are not accepted into the more lucrative individual quick-freeze (IQF) markets. The problem has been widely found in ‘Marion’ and ‘Kotata’ with minor amounts in ‘Boysenberry’. It has been a problem in both alternate-year and every-year fields.
Symptoms Individual druplets become shrivelled, dry and hard. In addition, some fruits may have small dry, scabby looking lesions on green, red, and black druplets. Affected druplets may be widely scattered on the berry or may be clustered in patches anywhere on the berry. Symptoms are seen anywhere from early berry development to ripening. Sporulation of various fungi may or may not be seen.
Control No one specific organism produces this symptom, so the suggested focus is on controlling the various diseases associated with this problem. Focus on those that historically have been troublesome in your field. Both cultural and chemical control programs may need to be extended when wet weather continues into late spring and summer.
blackberry fruit problem
We believe that your blackberry likely suffers from White Drupelet Syndrome.
A drupelet is the individual ‘ball’ on the berry fruit that surrounds the seeds. Occasionally, you may find a berry that appears white in color, especially on its drupelets. This condition is known as White Drupelet Syndrome, or disorder.
There a few possible reasons why this happens. The most common reason for blackberries and raspberries with spots is sunscald. Unseasonably warm and windy weather can cause this issue. Most often, white drupelets will appear when there has been an abrupt increase in temperature accompanied by a drop in humidity; it is especially pronounced when there is wind. Berries that have full exposure to hot afternoon sun are more susceptible to this disorder as hot, dry air allows for more direct UV rays to penetrate the fruits. When sunscald is associated with White Drupelet Syndrome, the side of the fruit exposed to the sun will be white whereas the shaded side will remain normal.This year’s hot, dry weather may have contributed to the problem.
Pests may also be responsible for the white spots in berries. Damage from stinkbugs or red mites can often lead to white drupelets. However, the discoloration caused from feeding damage will look quite different than that of sunscald or hot temperatures. The drupelets will have a more random patterning of white spots rather than a large general area.
To prevent white drupelets, avoid planting in sunny areas that are prone to hot summer winds. It may also help to orient your rows in a north-south facing position to minimize the effects of sunscald. Shading may be helpful as well; however, it is recommended only after pollination has already occurred. Shade cloth to protect the plants from afternoon sun can help.
Some advise to use overhead watering twice a day to cool plants during hot weather (for 15 minutes between morning and afternoon) to help alleviate sunscald. The limited watering cools the plants but evaporates quickly. This method is not recommended in evening hours as there must be adequate drying time in order to prevent the onset of disease later.
While a blackberry or raspberry with white drupelets may be unsightly, the fruit itself is still usable and relatively safe to eat, but may not be as tasty as ones not showing any damage. Of course, if the berries become hard and dry, they will not be palatable.
Thank you for contacting us regarding this issue. Please do not hesitate to contact us again should you have any other questions.
Blackberries: Health Benefits and Nutrition Information
Sweet yet tart blackberries are a summer staple. But the benefits of these berry beauties go well beyond their yummy taste. Blackberries have impressive health benefits, too.
1. They’re packed with vitamin C
Just one cup of raw blackberries has 30.2 milligrams of vitamin C. That’s half the daily recommended value. Vitamin C is integral to collagen formation in bones, connective tissue, and blood vessels. Vitamin C may also help you:
- heal wounds
- regenerate the skin
- battle free radicals (molecules released by toxins) in the body
- absorb iron
- shorten the common cold
- prevent scurvy
More research is needed, but some studies suggest vitamin C helps reduce the formation of cancer-causing substances in the body. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant which may also reduce oxidative stress in the body that can lead to cancer.
2. They’re high in fiber
Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet. That’s a problem: A low-fiber diet has been linked to digestive problems like bloating, constipation, and stomach pain. And according to a 2013 study, not getting enough fiber may increase your risk of heart disease.
A high-fiber diet may help you:
- reduce cholesterol
- promote regular bowel movements
- control blood sugar levels by slowing the rate of sugar absorption
- lose weight by making you feel fuller longer
- provide fuel to nourish healthy gut bacteria
For such a tiny berry, blackberries are high in fiber. One cup of raw blackberries has almost 8 grams.
3. Great source of vitamin K
Vitamin K is the reason why you don’t bleed profusely when you cut yourself: It helps your blood clot. Vitamin K also plays a role in bone metabolism. Vitamin K deficiency may lead to bone thinning and bone fractures. It may cause easy bruising, heavy menstrual bleeding, and blood in the stool or in the urine.
Just one cup of raw blackberries provides almost 29 micrograms — over one-third of the daily recommended value — of vitamin K.
If you take blood thinners, make sure to eat a consistent amount of foods high in vitamin K like blackberries, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, and fermented dairy foods.
4. High in manganese
You don’t hear as much about manganese as other minerals, but it’s vital to healthy bone development and a healthy immune system. It also helps your body metabolize carbs, amino acids, and cholesterol. Like vitamin C, manganese plays a key role in the formation of collagen. And the enzyme that helps manganese form collagen, prolidase, also helps wounds heal properly.
Manganese may help prevent osteoporosis, manage blood sugar levels, and reduce epileptic seizures.
One cup of raw blackberries contains 0.9 milligrams of manganese, almost half the daily recommended value. Keep in mind though that too much manganese may be toxic.
You’re unlikely to get too much manganese in food amounts, though, unless you have a condition that prevents your body from eliminating excess manganese, like chronic liver disease or anemia.
5. May boost brain health
Eating berry fruits like blackberries may improve brain health and help prevent memory loss caused by aging, according to a review of research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The review concluded that antioxidants in berry fruits help fight free radicals and alter how brain neurons communicate. This may help reduce brain inflammation, which can lead to cognitive and motor issues common with aging.
6. Helps support oral health
According to a 2013 study, you may want to add blackberries to your daily dental regimen. The study found blackberry extract has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities against some types of bacteria that cause oral disease. Researchers caution more study is needed, but suggest blackberry extract may help prevent and control gum disease and cavities.
What are the benefits of blackberries?
The following are some of the benefits people can gain by eating blackberries:
1. Vitamin C
Share on PinterestBlackberries are high in vitamin C.
Blackberries contain a high level of vitamin C. One serving of 100 grams (g) contains 35 percent of an individual’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C.
Humans are unable to synthesize their own vitamin C, so it is essential to include it as part of a healthy diet.
Vitamin C is involved in protein synthesis and is necessary for the body to produce collagen and certain neurotransmitters. These processes are vital for many bodily functions, including wound healing.
Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties and is involved in immune system functioning.
2. Source of fiber
A 100 g serving of blackberries contains 14 percent of the RDA of fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot break down into smaller, sugar molecules, as it does with other carbs. Fiber plays an crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels and sugar consumption.
There are two types of fiber in food, soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and it is associated with lowering blood sugar levels and helping a person maintain a healthy level of cholesterol.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water but supports healthy digestion.
Blackberries contain both soluble and insoluble types of fiber.
Blackberries contain high levels of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins. Antioxidants help people to fight against the adverse impact of free radicals in the body.
Free radicals can damage cells and are thought to be closely involved in the aging process plus other health conditions, such as cancer and heart disease.
The body uses antioxidants to reduce the damage that free radicals can cause. It is possible that when people eat foods that contain antioxidants, they are supporting this process, but more research is required to confirm this.
4. Vitamin K
Blackberries are an excellent source of vitamin K. This is a necessary nutrient for blood clotting, which is essential for proper wound healing.
People have also linked good bone health to vitamin K. However, it is essential that a person discusses their vitamin K intake with their doctor if they are on any blood thinners.
5. Vitamin A
Blackberries also contain vitamin A, which serves several functions in the body. Vitamin A supports the immune system, which combats infections and illness. It also supports the growth and maintenance of teeth and bones, as well as keeping skin healthy.
Vitamin A is responsible for producing the pigments in the retina of the eye and helps to support sight, particularly in dim lighting.
6. Brain functioning
A study in 2009 found that rats that consumed blackberries had improved cognitive and motor skills compared to a control group of rats that did not consume blackberries.
The authors of the study suggested that this could be due to chemicals called polyphenols that are in blackberries.
More research is needed to determine if these benefits occur in humans.
What are blackberries?
Blackberries are an edible fruit, commonly found in the UK from June until November, and they’re often seen growing in forests and hedgerows. Each individual blackberry, when ripe, is made up of 20-50 single seeds known as drupelets that are small, juice-filled and a deep purplish black. Technically, they are an ‘aggregate fruit’ rather than a berry.
Nutritional benefits of blackberries
Blackberries contain a wide array of important nutrients including potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as vitamins A, C, E and most of our B vitamins. They are also a rich source of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that give blackberries their deep purple colour.
Around 10 blackberries count towards one of your five-a-day. Take a look at our infographic to find out what counts as 5-a-day.
Can blackberries protect against heart disease?
As well as being an excellent source of anthocyanins, one research study did show that a specific extract found in blackberry juice offered protective effects against heart disease.
Read more about what to eat for a healthy heart.
Can blackberries help prevent cancer?
While there is no single ‘superfood’ that can prevent cancer, and certain risk factors for cancer are unrelated to diet, there is evidence that eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cancer. A study published by the Nutrition & Cancer Journal also found that certain fresh blackberry extracts may help to prevent tumour growth and spread of cancer, although more research is required.
Can blackberries boost brainpower?
An animal study by the Nutritional Neuroscience Journal found that including blackberries regularly in the diet improved both motor and cognitive function which could provide benefits in humans with more research.
A study by the European Journal of Nutrition also found that consuming wild blackberries can provide a protective effect on the brain thanks to their rich polyphenol content.
Blackberries contain the mineral manganese which plays an important role in brain function and deficiencies have been found to increase the risk of conditions such as epilepsy.
Discover the 10 foods that can boost your brainpower.
A 2013 study by the Journal of Periodontal Research found that blackberries demonstrated antibacterial properties, as well anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects, which could offer potential natural therapy against tooth infections. Blackberries also appear to have antiviral properties – research has shown that blackberry extract could help to treat cold sores when applied topically.
Can blackberries help inflammatory conditions?
There have been several studies into the anti-inflammatory effects of blackberries, which suggest that they could offer protection against inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, although more research is needed. One study in particular documented that blackberries reduced inflammation in gastric conditions, such as stomach ulcers, by as much as 88%.
Discover Arthritis Research UK’s top 5 diet tips to ease arthritis.
Nutritionally, what is the best way to cook blackberries?
Blackberries can be eaten fresh or used in cooking, and whilst there is no specific research over which is best, cooking does appear to reduce antioxidant status. You can also buy frozen blackberries when they are out of season.
Blackberry honey creams
Pan-fried venison with blackberry sauce
Individual summer puddings
Spiced roasted apples & blackberries
Enjoyed this? Read more…
What are anthocyanins and why are purple foods so healthy?
The health benefits of blueberries
All our health benefits guides
More health & nutrition tips
This article was reviewed on 1st October 2018 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
Seeds and Berries
Many birds and small mammals rely on the late summer and fall harvest of berries and seeds. The best winter-fruiting plants for wildlife are native trees and shrubs. Many of these same plants also serve as host plants for butterflies and provide nectar and pollen for many pollinators.
Birds that rely on insects in the summer often turn to berries when the weather turns cold. These include: woodpeckers, thrashers, quail, robins, waxwings, mockingbirds, bluebirds, grouse, catbirds, thrushes and even chickadees and titmice.
As a wildlife gardener, you can help wildlife have a year-round bounty by leaving the seed heads and berries intact, while still weeding or clearing some lower branches and leaves as needed. Seed-eating birds such as juncos and goldfinches enjoy the dried flower heads of asters, coneflowers and other native plants. Winter wildflower stalks also provide wildlife with places to seek refuge from storms and predators, and insects pass the winter in the dead stalks. These stalks and seed pods also add texture and visual interest on an otherwise barren landscape in a garden habitat.
Many of our favorite berries are native to certain regions of the country and a treat for humans and wildlife alike.
- American Persimmons: Native from Connecticut to Iowa and Kansas south to Florida and Texas, American persimmon trees produce ornamental, purplish-orange fruits that hang on leafless branches in autumn.
- Blackberries: The common, or Allegheny, blackberry grows in the Northeast and Midwest and south to Virginia and Missouri. California blackberry, also called dewberry, is native to the Pacific Northwest.
- Blueberries: The highbush blueberry is native to the East and Midwest, other blueberry species are native to most of the United States and Canada.
- Cranberries: northeastern, mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states and farther south in the Appalachian Mountains. Cranberries can be grown outside of a bog, but do benefit from moist soil and lots of compost.
- Elderberries: Native throughout much of the United States and Canada.
- Pawpaws: Producing the largest edible fruit of any North American native plant, pawpaw shrubs or small trees range from New York to Iowa and south from Florida to Texas.
- Raspberries: The red raspberry is native to every region of the Lower 48 except the Deep South. The black raspberry ranges throughout the East as far south as Georgia and from North Dakota south to Colorado and Oklahoma. A number of nonnative brambles versions of this berry can become invasive, so grow only local species.
- Salmonberries: Western salmonberry is a favorite of western hummingbird species from California to Alaska.
- Serviceberries: Native to every contiguous U.S. state and Canadian province.
- Prickly Pear Cactus: While also a Southwestern source for jam, its fruits are sought by many kinds of birds as well as by chipmunks and other mammals.
From Shrubs and Trees
Many shrubs and trees provide year round beauty in the landscape while providing a needed food source for wildlife. Check the Native Plant Finder to find out which of these examples are native in your zip code.
- American Beautyberry: A hardy four- to six-foot shrub has wand like branches lined with small purple berries, which can last until mid-winter. Native and a favorite of mockingbirds in much of the eastern United States.
- Holly: Possum haw, a deciduous holly with abundant fruit, is found throughout the southeastern states. Another is winterberry, the hardiest of the hollies, flourishing in New England and eastern Canada. Its crimson berries improve with age and are popular with birds after a frost or two. Three other native hollies—American, yaupon and inkberry—are evergreen, providing protection from snow, rain and wind. Cluster female holly bushes with a male to ensure a good crop of fruit.
- Sumac: 15 species occur in North America and have brilliant autumn color with large seed clusters. Seldom a first choice for birds, the plant’s popularity soars by late winter when its fruit clusters are one of the few foods to be found. Note: Poison sumac is not really sumac and should be avoided as it’s more closely related to poison ivy.
- Saltbush: Several species of this desert shrub are native to the Southwest and California. Four-winged saltbush is a draw for quail and other wildlife. All of the saltbushes are drought tolerant and prefer well-drained soils and full sun.
- Hackberry: Nearly 50 species of birds—ranging from roadrunners to titmice—eat this pea-sized fruit of the common hackberry. Related to the elm, this species is one of the few trees that thrives from the edge of the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic seaboard. Eventually reaching 40 to 60 feet tall in ideal situations, the common hackberry is durable and can be planted in urban areas and in poor soils.
- Viburnum: Several native viburnums have berries that persist long into the winter. The fruits of some like possomhaw, change as temperatures drop from bright chartreuse to white, then pink, and finally to navy blue. It is native to the eastern coastal plain from Connecticut south to Florida and west to Texas. Highbush cranberry and nannyberry are two viburnums that grow across the northern United States.
- Mountain Ash: Prefers cool, moist habitats. American mountain ash, usually a large shrub or small tree, ranges from eastern Canada south into the Appalachian Mountains. Sitka mountain ash is a western species. Both have showy white blossoms in the spring. After a few freeze-and-thaw cycles, the orange-red fruit attracts grosbeaks, grouse and waxwings.
- Hawthorn: Dozens of species of hawthorns are found in the United States and Canada. With thorns and a tendency to clump into thickets, these small trees do double duty, providing secure nesting sites in summer and plentiful berries in winter. Cedar waxwings, ruffed grouse and fox sparrows all devour the plants’ scarlet berries.
- Bayberry: Most species of bayberry, including northern bayberry and Pacific wax myrtle, are vital to winter wildlife. In the Southeast, tree swallows and other birds swarm to southern wax myrtle if a late cold front strikes in spring. Wax myrtle is easy to grow, tolerating a wide range of conditions.
- Red cedar, Juniper: found indry rocky fields from Canada to Florida) hold edible fruit during the cold months. They provide food for cedar waxwings, evening grosbeaks and many other birds Junipers also offer thick protective cover from predators and are important bird-nesting habitat. Prairie warblers often lay their eggs in nests tucked among juniper boughs. Yellow-rumped warblers overwinter in the same trees and feed on the fruits. They provide year-round shelter for birds, and their brightly colored fruits are popular with thrushes, mockingbirds and yellow bellied sapsuckers.