How Do You Tell What Kind of Berry Tree a Plant Is?

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To identify a berry tree, use a tree-identification book or another reliable resource. The shape, color and size of the berry and the overall appearance of the tree are features used to identify specific tree species.

To identify a berry tree, begin by examining the berry and overall appearance of the tree. Most trees with edible berries have leaves rather than needles. Their limbs are usually covered in scale-like protrusions. The formation of the leaves should be examined as a first step to identify the type of berry growing on the tree.

Leaves may be simple, with one leaf per leaf stem, or compound, with many leaves on each leaf stem. Additionally, the leaves may be opposite or alternate on the leaf stem. Alternate leaves are those that appear at uneven intervals along the stem, while opposite leaves appear directly across from each other along the stem. Most trees with leaves directly opposite each other don't form edible berries. For example, the dogwood tree has opposite leaves and small clusters of red, inedible berries.

Examine the berry carefully to identify the tree. Begin by determining the color and size of the berry, then check the cluster type. For instance, elderberries appear in large clusters that may cause the branch to droop, while cherries grow in small clusters along the length of the limb. Use a reliable tree-identification resource to determine the specific species of the tree after identifying each feature.