top five edible shrubs

linus7(Z9PtSWEurope)December 4, 2002

Hi !

Which edible shrubs would you rate as you top 5 favorites ?

I´m looking for some of those and have no clues. Your opinions might put me in the right track to make my decisions on that .

You may mentions the reason of your choices . (Taste, looks , bird atraction ,etc...)



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blueberry, red currant, black currant, gooseberry, aronia, elderberry, american highbush cranberry, sea buckthorn, rugosa rose-in that order for edible fruit. All are used in our yard for landscaping.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2002 at 9:55AM
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Blueberry, blueberry, cranberry, lingonberry and nanking cherry.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2002 at 10:29AM
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Blueberry -relatively low-care, no spray, few pests, tasty berries, good fall color
Saskatoon/juneberry(Amelanchier spp.)- even lower care requirement than blueberries, pretty spring bloom(though short-lived), tasty berries(if you can beat the birds to them), good fall color.
Gooseberry - relatively low maintenance - all they require is pruning every few years, tasty tart berries.

That's my top three - anything beyond that is so far out of the running that they don't really rate a mention.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2002 at 11:54AM
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Rodknee(Z 5 UT USA)

Serviceberry/Juneberry- Amalanchier sp.(cant grow blueberries well in Utah - my favorite eaten fresh)
Honey Berry - edible Lonicera sp. ( best tasting)
Black Chokeberry - Aronia melanocarpa (my favorite juice)
Corneilian Cherry - Cornus mass (most beautiful fruit)
Blue Elderberry - Sambucus caerulea (awesome shrub!)
Black currant - Ribes sp. (my favorite jelly)
These are not in order. I love all of them. They tolerate my clay soil and extreme weater in central Utah. There are many cultivars and hybrids of each to choose from. Do a little research and you'll find some to fit your exact needs.
Good Luck, LJ

    Bookmark   December 8, 2002 at 11:52PM
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I just know figs as #1!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2002 at 6:35PM
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modjadje(Willamette Valley Zone 8)

When you say "edible shrub" I guess you have a height restriction in mind?
So quince and pomegranate, both easily kept to less than 8 feet, are probably out. Both set beautiful blossoms, plus quince makes wonderful jams/jellies and pomegranate makes grenadine syrup.
As for berries, I have grown Red currants, blueberries, black currants, red seedless grapes, and blackberries. Elderberry might make my list in a year or two, I am just getting ready to plant some.
Red and black currants are pretty in bloom, plus the black currants smell clovelike while blooming. The red currants in their clusters look absolutely beautiful and very tasty to eat right off the bush. Blueberries bloom very pretty too, and very tasty right off the bush plus all the other applications in cooking/drying.
Grapes look beautiful trained over an arbor, plus delicious to eat.
Hazelnuts are easily kept bushy, as in a hedgerow. Foliage is very pretty, with wavy-edged leaves. Nuts are wonderful. I love mine, they gave me good crops in Zone 7 California, now to see what they will do here in S.W. Oregon (I dug up several sideshoots and brought them with me in pots).
Well, there you have my favorites and why I love them, but I must admit that there are lots that i have never even seen or tasted, this is just from my own limited experience. Delina

    Bookmark   December 9, 2002 at 6:45PM
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oldherb(z8 Oregon)

Here's my favs...Chaenomolese (flowering quince), evergreen huckleberry, blue berry, black currant, Rosa villosa, Rosa rugosa, Honey Berry (Lonicera), Camellia sinensis (green tea Camellia). Ok, so there's eight...

    Bookmark   December 10, 2002 at 11:02PM
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Jillberto(Z9 CA)

Here goes:

Pineapple guava-Feijoa sellowiana;wonderful grey green foliage, pink petals taste like candy, they melt in your month. Fruit a green oval about 3 to 4 inches long, tastes tangy,sweet like a pineapple. Fruit easy to grow here in S. Calif

Natal plum - Carrisa grandiflora a Can-do-no-wrong-to shrub here in S. calif. Bright glossy green leaves. Fruit a 2" oval shape, milky red kind of Sweet fruit.

Brush Cherry - (Syzygium)or Eugenia paniculata. Good evergreen tall hedge. Fruit tastes like a small apple.

Kumquat -Fortunella margarita or F. crassifolia. Very sour! Skin is sweet, insides are like sucking a lemon. Taste of my childhood. Bright small orange fruit are very pretty on bush.

Thats all I can think of that are shrubs

Happy Eating,


    Bookmark   December 11, 2002 at 3:38PM
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maryliz(5b/SE lower MI)

I came to this forum to ask if anyone has a favorite species of Amelanchier, since I've tasted them and would love to have one at our house.

Nobody mentioned highbush cranberry, which I am also considering. Anybody have any experience with that one? Do the fruits taste good, fresh off the stem?

I live in zone 5, so kumquats and guavas are out of the question.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2002 at 11:12AM
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Maryliz - There may be some improved cultivars of highbush cranberry that would have better flavor. Sorry I don't know very much about them but I wanted to suggest starting a new post so you'll get more responses. Also there is a post titled "Which Serviceberry" that is on about page 3 right now that might help you with amelanchiers. Best of luck.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2002 at 1:49PM
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Corrie(2b MB Canada)

Here on the prairie we pick the wild highbush cranberries every year. The fruit is translucent red, juicy but very sour, with a large, flat papery seed in each berry. They are not for fresh eating. They do, however, make wonderful jelly and jam, and mix well with fruit like rhubarb or the wild chokecherries, which have not enough pectin to set on their own. Their jelling ability is highest when they have just turned red and some of the berries still look a bit yellowish. If you wait until they are very translucent and soft, they will usually still set fine by themselves, but are not strong enough to be diluted with other fruit and still get a good set. The plant is also beautiful, with maple-shaped leaves and panicles of white flowers in spring, the red berries in summer and brilliant scarlet fall colour. Corrie

    Bookmark   January 7, 2003 at 7:32PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I keep adding more edible shrubs to my landscape but I have to vote for Blueberries being the best. Tree Cherries are wonderfull and I am trying out shrub cherries this year. After Blueberries my next favorite is Red Currants, which I like to eat raw. The Red Currants are for me but the Blueberries are shared with local birds which love the fruit.

Serviceberries taste like small bland blueberries to me and birds absolutely love the fruit. I added Nanking Cherries this year also because the fruit is supposed to be very good and it also atttracts birds (another reason for planting lots of fruiting shrubs around here).

I have Goumi shrubs, which make a tiny sour fruit that also attracts birds, Black Aronia (good for cooking and bird attracting), different types of Elderberry (again good for cooking and bird attracting) and am adding Beach Plums this fall.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 3:01PM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

We have a white currant White Imperial, I think. It's very good right off the bush. It's pleasantly tart and the gets sweeter as is hangs on the bush. There are still a few hanging on and its been months. We also have red currants. Don't remember the variety but the white are much sweeter. The red ones that are still on the bush are sweeter than the ones we ate earlier. Blueberries are the very best, serviceberries next, then gooseberries and currants. Our gooseberries are Achilles and are delicious. My Cornelian cherry has fruit for the first time and I don't think it's going to ripen. It's still hard and green.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 7:41AM
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josie_z6b(z6b Philly)

1) Black raspberry. (not blackberries!) My number one favorite. Easy to grow, you don't have to take care of it, you pick as much as you want and the birds can have the rest. Mourning doves nested in the ones at my old house.

2) Blueberry. My mom planted some this year. So far, so good, but no berries 'til next year. Pretty plant, though, which is something the raspberries can't say.

3) Rugosa Roses. Lovely (edible) flowers, useful fruit, good wildlife plant. Better scent than many hybrid roses.

4) Red raspberries. They taste different from the black ones to me. Still in the top five, though somewhat down the list. Prettier for jellies, too.

5) Does crabapple count as a shrub? ;)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2003 at 10:18PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I am trying a Hinnomaki Red Gooseberry this year. Blueberries are still my number one favorite, so much so that I am getting 9 more plants shipped to me next week.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2004 at 6:46PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Do you eat the black rasberries fresh or are they only good for jam making?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2004 at 11:59AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Lately I have gone crazy for Bramble Fruit, adding Red and Yellow Everbearing Raspberries, Blackberries and Black Raspberries to the garden this year. So right now they are top of my list!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2004 at 5:48PM
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AmberSky(9b FL)

Aceola-Pretty, very tasty, bears lightly for a long time.
Feijoa-VERY pretty, edible flowers and fruit.
Black Suranam Cherry-Ooh, so good. Very pretty bush. Tastes like being a kid in summer again.
Jamacan Cherry-Well, tecnically a tree, but you can keep it bush sized and the fruit is wonderful!

But I am pretty sure most of these won't grow for most of you.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 9:09AM
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This year I have given up on growing a vegetable garden and am devoting my time establishing a fruit garden. What is going in is Triple Crown thornless blackberries, several kinds of grapes, bush cherries, elderberries and more gooseberries. Don't need to plant currents, they grow wild all over the place. For ground cover, I will be putting in strawberries.

Any other suggestions for a high desert fruit garden?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2004 at 10:01AM
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flowerchild59(z6b IL)

Blue berry, black raspberry, raspberry, service berries, gooseberries and black currants.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2004 at 4:26PM
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jmhewitt(8a Coastal NC)

Black raspberries are wonderful fresh eating. generally, I prefer them to most of the reds. I used to grow and export them to the US from Chile.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2004 at 1:37PM
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Robert_in_MT(z4 nw MT)

I used to eat the service berries, until I found the hucks and now wouldn't waste my time on service berries again, the are a weed around here. I like blueberries even better than the hucks, they are alot easier to grow too. With all the wild plum, sand cherries, elderberry, currants, chokecherry, and chokeberry around why would anyone eat service berries on purpose.
Just my thoughts on the seedy, bland service berries.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 3:26AM
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greenwitch(Sz19 SoCal)

Morus nigra 'Black Beauty' the best mulberry (so they say, mine hasn't fruited yet). Left to it's own devices it's suposed to top out at 15' but with summer pruning kept to 10' or so (maybe smaller, maybe not).

The other mulberries are pretty much full on shade trees.

You can "shrub" just about any of the grafted stone fruits and apples too. Pomegranites can be kept smaller too.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 3:01PM
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Dino_Tsapatsaris(9B Florida)

Strawberry quava -- needs no maintenance; rosemary, drought tolerant; any citrus kept to shrub size, Japanese persimmon, chickasaw plum trimmed to shrube size (no maitenance, self-fertilizing.)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 9:22PM
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Purple raspberries,yellow raspberries are delicious and make jewel coloured jellies.Elderberry pretty umbrella flower, easy care.Fruit can be added to apple pie, juiced or made into jelly.Black raspberries and the blackberries we took from the wild. Chokecherries I took from the wild, they take care of themselves. The berries when eaten fresh feel like they are drying out your mouth. You have to protect them from birds if you want to make an amazing jelly. Wild grapes. Tiny and sour, they are our favourite jelly.Black currant, red and white (champagne) currant, gooseberries and blueberries. Gooseberries we serve with fish, make into a jam or mix with blueberries and blackberries to make a 3 berry jam that is fantastic. High bush cranberries made into jelly or juice.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

any guava, any citrus, any fig, any grape, blueberries.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 10:25AM
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Figs 7-25ft tall & wide zones 6-11
Blueberry 1-10 ft tall and wide zones 3-11
American Plum 10-40ft tall and 10-25ft wide zones 4-9
pomegranate 4- 20ft tall and 10ft wide zones 6-11
Elaeagnus umbellata & multiflora 10-14 ft tall & wide zones 4-10

in that order based on taste, also great for low maintenance edibles

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Brad Edwards

and ?

There are all kinds of dwarf fruit tress, like Apple, Pear, Peach, citrus like Satsumas/Kumquats

I kind of think the author is implying things that can be kept bushy like a shurb that still produce but I could be wrong.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 12:20PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Yes, Morus nigra is really great tasting and really staining. Don't plant it near your driveway nor near your front door.
Other mulberries I've had are tolerable but not worth planting in my opinion.

Himalayan Honeysuckle is very reliable and flavorful. Tastes like coffee with sugar in it.

My quince tree/bush is unbelievably productive and flavorful.

Thornless blackberries are a no-brainer.

John S

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 1:26PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

What about this one? Have no clue, but moving and looking for edibles...
E3102 Juneberry, Saskatoon Serviceberry Amelanchier alnifolia
Low water requirements, grows as high as 10,000 feet. A deciduous shrub that seldom exceeds 15 feet in height and occasionally suckering to form a slowly spreading clump. An easily grown plant, it prefers a rich loamy soil and thrives in any soil that is not too dry or water-logged. The largest yields, and best quality fruits, are produced when the plant is grown in a sunny position, though it should also do reasonably well in semi-shade. The plants are fairly lime tolerant and they will also grow well in heavy clay soils. They are very cold-hardy and will tolerate temperatures down to at least -20�c and probably much lower. Flowers in Early Spring, these white flowers are produced before the plants come into leaf, and are usually produced so abundantly that the whole plant turns white. They look particularly beautiful at this time. By late June, or more commonly early to mid July, the plants will usually be carrying large crops of fruits. These fruits are about 15mm in diameter, they are soft, sweet and juicy with a taste that reminds us of apples. Small enough to be eaten without problems, though they can add a slightly bitter almond-like flavour to the fruit if they are crushed whilst eating. The fruit can also be cooked in pies etc., when dried it is quite sweet and can be used in the same ways as raisins.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 9:26PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I do agree Figs are Number 1, but what about this one?
Strawberry Tree Arbutus
For zone 7-10. The strawberry tree is a beautiful small evergreen tree or shrub usually growing 20-35 feet tall, and can be container grown in large tubs. Considered cold hardy down to 10 degrees, it is a very easy plant to grow.
The strawberry tree produces masses of beautiful white flowers in November and December. Since the fruit takes 12 months to ripen, the tree carries both mature fruit and flowers at the same time and is then incredibly beautiful. This is a superb plant to grow as a specimen in a lawn, and it also grows very well on the sunny edges of a woodland garden.
The fruit varies considerably in size, though it averages about �-� inch in diameter. It is a lovely red colour and, from a distance, does look a little like strawberries - hence the common name of the plant. The resemblance to strawberries, however, does not apply to the taste. While it does have a somewhat gritty skin, when fully ripe the fruit itself has the texture of a lush tropical fruit and has a delicate pleasant flavour. For those people with sensitive taste buds, this is a fruit that can be enjoyed when eaten in moderate quantities. The fruit can also be cooked and is used to make delicious and nourishing jams and preserves.
Ripening over a period of several weeks in late autumn and early winter, the fruit will fall from the tree when it is fully ripe.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 9:38PM
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anyone want to trade fig cuttings? I have a few and it seems to be at the top of everyone's list.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I'm in! I have some rooted Marseilles VS Black, showing leaves. Or should we wait till everything goes dormant? Got Hardy Chicago too.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 3:17PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Arbutus unedo Strawberry tree is more landscape than edible. They are beautiful in fruit, taste ok. Fruit here at Thanksgiving.
John S

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 11:19PM
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My top five are:
raspberry, red, gold and black
white currant

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:27AM
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