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Autumn Berries.

November 12, 2011

Amur Honeysuckle

Wild Rose


Horse Nettle

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.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2011 11:12 pm

    A lot of these look very familiar, but I’m not all that good at identifying them. Great shots… especially love the one with the water droplet. 🙂

  2. November 12, 2011 11:28 pm

    Great idea to document fall berries! Shrubs are an area I don’t know much about, but I’d like to learn. I saw several robins here yesterday, but they must have just been passing though on their way south…the woods are fairly quiet now except for chickadees.

  3. November 13, 2011 12:43 am

    The reds are very pretty! That’s a large collection of late berries. Now you have me thinking about them and I’ll have to start carrying my macro lens again and paying closer attention, that is if this snow quits soon.

  4. November 13, 2011 8:54 am

    “Berry” nice and such a wonderful treat for our feathered friends. Margie

  5. November 13, 2011 11:18 am

    Enjoyed this post, Tracy! Beautiful photos! I recently found honeysuckle berries, pokeweed berries, and the cherry tomato-like berries. They were green and the thorns were extremely sharp! I brought a few home to identify – no luck.

  6. November 13, 2011 11:51 am

    Colorful berries are a treat to the eye against a background of withering, dead foliage.

  7. November 13, 2011 9:11 pm

    Our mockingbird keeps a close eye on the hollies. 🙂

  8. November 14, 2011 12:54 pm

    Wondering what those golden yellow berries are…
    I love holly berries, too – so plentiful around the winter holidays.
    Great pictures, Tracy!

  9. November 14, 2011 10:05 pm

    Hi Tracy. i love the berries of autumn and your photos capture them well. As for those ‘golden yellow berries’, I think they are Solanum… they look like our Bittersweet… do you know what they are???. As kids, we used to pick them as miniature tomatos, but I don’t think you should eat them. Jane

  10. November 14, 2011 10:08 pm

    Hi Tracey. I didn’t notice the thorns at first… I don’t know what they are! Jane

  11. November 18, 2011 5:20 pm

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! 🙂

    There are a few ‘mystery berries’ that are difficult to identify, like those golden ones…it keeps things interesting though, not knowing is OK with me. Though if I find out what they are, I’ll happily let you know!

  12. November 20, 2011 3:23 pm

    I think the the golden berries are bitter nightshade. They seem to come in red and gold. I’ve seen both colors in the patches of bitter nightshade that we have at the back of the pond.

    Wonderful post. I like seeing the berries of autumn. They add color when the leaves have finished. 🙂

  13. November 23, 2011 8:23 am

    We enjoy seeing the berries too. Happy Thanksgiving from Wisconsin! Ellen


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