Sure, summer had its blackberries, blueberries, elderberries…but the weather is getting cooler now, and there are other things growing on bushes and brambles this season.
Berries are a successful strategy for plant reproduction. Birds and wildlife often consume them and pass the seeds contained therein on further away from the original location of the berry-bearing plant, starting the cycle anew.
The most prominent and numerous of the berries are on a shrub we looked at last spring. There are an incredible amount of Amur Honeysuckle bushes and related species along roadsides, wood edges and even in woodlands in Ohio. They bloomed last spring, and now they are full of small red berries. Take a walk anywhere this time of year, and chances are good you’ll see them here or there. This invasive species from Asia has found eastern North America to be very hospitable ground.
Chances are good that if you see a greenish shrub out in the Ohio woods, it’s a Honeysuckle shrub.
These shrubs can get as big as small trees, and can form dense thickets.
Honeysuckle shrubs bloom in the spring, and bear fruit in the autumn and winter. Clusters of berries are spaced regularly along its branches.
Invasive species tend to drive out native species, which is not a good thing. However, Honeysuckle provides huge numbers of berries for birds and wildlife to live upon in the autumn and winter. Certain species can actually stay in the north in the winter with the extra food this shrub provides.
Robins love Honeysuckle berries; they gather in large flocks to eat them in the cool weather. Other birds feast upon them too.
There are other berries to be found in woods and meadows. Wild rose brambles and shrubs often bear red fruit as well. Notice that these berries are less translucent and more elongated than Honeysuckle berries.
Pokeweed berries could be seen in the summer when they were green in color, but now they’re vanishing as birds eat them- though some mature purple berries survive on their withering plants.
There are other berries out there to be found; they are not always easily identified, but they attract the interest of both nature lovers and wildlife.
Edit: the golden berries pictured below are Horse Nettle-
Edit: These are Poison Ivy berries below-
Enjoy the berry season! Nature provides a wise bounty for us all. But don’t eat any you find unless you know they are absolutely safe for humans- not all of them are.