Fruiting Trees & Shrubs

Written for the Spring 2023 Gazette by Windermere Tree Board Member, Leslie Brabec


There is so much interest in fruiting trees and shrubs for our yards! I would like to recommend a few of my favorite native and non-native species that grow well in our area. There are many wonderful fruiting trees and shrubs that grown in our area and provide not only wildlife habitat, but excellent food sources for us as well.

Native Options

American PersimmonDiospyros virginianaProduces a sweet and edible fruit from late August to early November. The fruit turns a bright orange when ripe and can be enjoyed in its natural state or used to make jams and chutneys.
Beautyberry BushCallicarpa americanaA beautiful landscape shrub or small tree that grows small berries that become bright purple when they ripen. Their flavor is a little sweet with a spicy note and are best suited for cooking. Beautyberries grow in full sun and are drought tolerant. They not only provide food for wildlife and pollinators, but Beautyberry leaves can also be used as a mosquito repellant when crushed and rubbed on your skin.
Yaupon HollyIlex vomitoriaA Florida native that not only provides songbird and wildlife habitat, but can also be used to make tea. The Yaupon leaves contain the highest amount of caffeine of any native plant in North America and have been used by indigenous peoples to produce tea
Red MulberryMorus rubraThe berries of this tree are edible and sweet! Mulberries can be eaten raw, boiled, used for pastry filling, fermented into wine, and put into marmalades. Mulberry branches have been dried and used to smoke meats for centuries.

Non-Native Options

LoquatEriobotrya japonicaAlso known as a Japanese plum, this tree has a fruit that tastes much like a cross between an apricot and an orange and can be used to make jam, cobbler, salsa or barbecue sauce.
MangoMadifera indicaThe fruit of this tree is related to the pistachio and cashew and is an excellent choice for cooking.
Strawberry GuavaPsidium cattleianumA showy small tree that has an edible sweet-tart fruit that provides food sources for birds, squirrels and raccoons.
CitrusLong discouraged in back yards to eliminate greening, is now making a return. The University of Florida is launching a new citrus program for home gardeners.