The Name of the Tree with Orange Berries

Written by marlene affeld
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The Name of the Tree with Orange Berries
Mountain ash berries provide winter colour in the garden. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Trees that produce orange berries are striking additions to both rural and urban landscapes. The brightly coloured berries add colour to the garden and create visual interest. Trees offer habitat for animals and the brightly coloured berries provide food for birds and other wildlife. Orange or red berries are often nature's "danger signal," telling us that the berries may not be edible. Many orange berries are quite toxic and should not be eaten by humans. If you have an orange berried tree in your landscape, always rake and dispose of the berries properly so they do not present a danger to young children.

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American Mountain Ash

American Mountain Ash (Sorbus americana), also known as Dogberry, Roundwood, Small Fruited Mountain Ash or Missey-mosse, is a deciduous tree that grows from 20 to 30 feet tall at maturity. In ideal locations with abundant water, the tree may grow taller and reach heights of 40 to 60 feet. Mountain ash trees present long 12 to 18 inch leaflets. The individual leaves are 2 to 4 inches long, ½ to 1 inch wide. The leaves are a rich green colour during the summer and turn brilliant shades of yellow and orange in autumn. The trunk of the mountain ash tree is slender, the bark thin and smooth. The tree presents white flowers in the spring. The fruit is a bright dark orange berry that stays on the tree through most of the winter, providing food for several species of birds.

Showy Mountain Ash

Showy Mountain Ash (Sorbus decora), also known as Northern mountain ash, is similar in almost every way to the American mountain ash with the exception of the berries. Showy mountain ash presents a darker reddish orange berry that is somewhat smaller than those of the American mountain ash. Mountain ash trees prefer a moist, sunny location. On drier sites, their growth is stunted.

American Bittersweet

American bittersweet is actually a vine that entangles itself in the branches of other trees. The plant presents orange-yellow berries. The vine is often used in floral arrangements and wreaths. Eating the berries will cause diarrhoea, nausea and stomach cramps.

The Name of the Tree with Orange Berries
Bittersweet is dried and used in autumn floral bouquets. (bittersweet image by Alexey Stiop from

Wax Currant

Wax Currant (Ribes cereum), is native to the northwestern portion of the United States. With adequate moisture, the plant grows into a large shrub or small tree, often reaching up to 20 feet. Wax currant produces small yellowish flowers that are attractive to hummingbirds. In the fall, the plant evidences bright orange or orange-red berries that provide food for birds and wildlife.

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