A Red Fruit Growing On A Thorny Flower Bush Plants With Decorative Fruit – An Important Consideration in Garden Design

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Plants With Decorative Fruit – An Important Consideration in Garden Design

While some trees and shrubs are often planted in gardens because of the edible fruit they supply, the additional visual impact of many fruit-bearing plants should be considered in terms of overall garden design. Fruits hanging from trees and shrubs provide color on their own, sometimes at times when color is scarce in the garden, as is the case with lemon trees in Mediterranean climates at the beginning of winter.

Many woody plants have inedible fruits, of course, but are still very interesting, not only in terms of color, but also in terms of decorative shapes and forms. Here are some lesser known examples of fruit trees, shrubs and bushes, which add a lot to the garden with their decorative fruits. Let’s start with some trees.

* Acmena smithii produces spectacularly beautiful lavender berries in autumn, which last long into winter. The berries are also apparently edible. Acmena may be susceptible to aphids in your area.

* Hawthorns are often grown as thorn hedges in Europe and elsewhere. However, the smaller tree, Crataegus monogyna, is adorned with red berries in winter. The fruits look like small apples, not surprising, since hawthorn belongs to the same plant family as apples. Unlike many fruit-bearing species in the Rosaceae family, hawthorn is relatively hardy to pests and diseases. Its fruits are edible and tasty in my opinion, although not everyone will agree with me on that! Unfortunately, Crataegus monogyna is an ornamental tree used in gardens in dry climates.

* Coelreuteria bipinata is not only a great landscaping tree for small gardens, but its inedible fruits are highly decorative. It is also known as the Chinese lantern tree, from the pink, translucent fruit that actually resembles a lantern, Chinese or otherwise.

*Another example worth noting is the strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo.

There are many shrubs and bushes that grow fruit in addition to their landscaping features. Some, such as the nettle plum, Carissa macrocarpa, have edible fruits, although most people are unaware of this additional property. The dark pink fruits are excellent in salads and also provide some nice color. Belonging to the same botanical family as Nerium oleander, its leaves are indeed poisonous, yet the fruit, at least when ripe, is perfectly safe to eat.

Of course some shrubs are chosen in planting designs, especially for the spectacular color of their fruit. Examples of such plants with inedible fruit are firethorn, Pyracantha coccinea, a mainstay of European gardens, although not suitable for frost-free areas. Varieties of the related genus Cotoneaster, in fact, bear fruit well in dry locations and are therefore particularly relevant for Mediterranean gardens.

Myrtle also has decorative berries, which are lost if the tree is over-pruned as a sheared hedge. Finally, don’t forget Nandina domestica, a truly beautiful sculptural shrub. Its white flowers aren’t particularly attractive, but don’t rush to pick them because you’ll miss the tiny red berries that adorn the plant to such great effect.

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