Thorny plants serve a number of purposes in the landscape. They create almost impenetrable screens and act as live fences. Though thorns are an adaptation that developed to keep predators away from the plant's fruits, many thorny plants attract wildlife, including beneficial pollinating species. When choosing thorny trees or shrubs for your landscape, select species with cultural needs compatible with those of your planting site.
Other People Are Reading
Several members of the Citrus family have thorns and bear fruit. The Persian lime (C. aurantifolia) has thorny stems and produces edible green-to-yellow fruit. It blooms with fragrant white blossoms in spring and grows to 6 m (20 feet) tall with a low canopy. This evergreen prefers full sun and moist soil. The lemon (C. limon) has thorny branches and produces edible, yellow fruits. It grows to 7.5 m (25 feet) tall. Lemon trees have lustrous, evergreen foliage and bloom in spring or fall with aromatic white blossoms. They prefer full sun and moist soil.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) trees have thorns and bear fruit. The Russian hawthorn (C. ambigua) has thorny branches and produces an abundance of wildlife-attracting, red fruits in fall and winter. This 7.5 m (25 foot) tall deciduous tree thrives in full sun and moist to dry soil. The Washington hawthorn (C. phaenopyrum) has thorny stems and produces clusters of large, red fruits in fall and winter. This deciduous tree grows well in full sun and moist to dry soil. It reaches heights to 7.5 m (25 feet) and has lustrous, lobed foliage that turns red to orange in autumn.
Some members of the Elaeagnus family bear fruit and have thorny branches. The Russian olive (E. angustifolia) has thorns and produces black and brown fruit from summer to winter. This deciduous shrub grows from 3.6 to 4.5 m (12 to 15 feet) tall. It has long, narrow, silver-grey foliage that turns yellow in fall. Russian olives prefer full sun to partial shade and light, loamy soil. The autumn olive (E. umbellate) grows long thorns on its branches and produces single-seeded fruits. This deciduous tree grows to 4.8 m (16 feet) tall and thrives in full sun to partial shade and well-drained to dry soil. The thorny eleagnus (E. pungens) shrub grows to 4.5 m (15 feet) tall and has thorny, arching branches. It produces fruits in spring and blooms with grey-white flowers. This evergreen shrub prefers sun to partial shade, and tolerates drought, salt and a range of soils.
Several holly (Ilex spp.) trees and shrubs have thorns and produce fruit. The English holly (I. aquifolium) has thorny branches and produces an abundance of red, wildlife-attracting fruits in fall and winter. It grows to 10.5 m (35 feet) tall. English hollies have glossy, spiny evergreen foliage and prefer full sun to partial shade and moist soil. American holly (I. opaca) shrubs and trees produce clusters of red fruits and have thorny stems. Their spiny, evergreen leaves have a lustrous sheen. American holly trees grow to 15 m (50 feet) tall with a conical shape, while the "Clarendon Spreading" shrub grows to 3.6 m (12 feet) tall with a similar spread. They grow well in full sun to full shade and moist soil.
- 20 of the funniest online reviews ever
- 14 Biggest lies people tell in online dating sites
- Hilarious things Google thinks you're trying to search for