Natives bearing Edible Fruits

The wild fruit of the Pacific Northwest offers a variety of fresh and delicious flavors. They can be used alone or combined with other fruit for a unique twist in your favorite jam, sauce or baking recipes.

Include these plants in your ‘edible forest’ or general landscape, and have a bounty that you can both enjoy and share with the birds that visit your garden!  Here’s a sampling:

Rosehip

Rosa: WildRose

Rose hips are well known for their abundance of vitamin C and use in making delicious jam. Our native roses are no exception!

Recipe: Rose Hip Jam and Jelly

Vaccinium spp.

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Perhaps the best of the native berries is the Vaccinium ovatum: Evergreen Huckleberry; not found as commonly in nurseries, the Vaccinium membranaceum: Black Huckleberry is also really tasty; the Vaccinium parvifolium: Red Huckleberry is sometimes found to be a little sour, but easily cultivated and still delicious with some sweetening.

Recipe: Huckleberry Muffins

Amelanchier alnifolia

Amelanchier alnifolia: Serviceberry

These tiny berries were a staple of Pacific Northwest Indian tribes, and can be eaten fresh, cooked or dried. In addition, this small tree / tall multi-stemmed shrub is attractive with something of interest every season of the year, so is garden-worthy in its own right. The birds will be happy to enjoy the fruit, too.

Recipe: Serviceberry Pie

Fragaria vesca

Fragaria: Strawberry

All three of our native strawberries Fragaria vesca, Fragaria chiloensis, Fragaria virginiana are pleasantly edible, the latter two being two of the parents of today’s garden strawberries.

In all cases the fruit is quite small, so having an abundance for a recipe might be a challenge unless you have a lot of space, but for fresh eating while out in your garden, they’re hard to beat.

Rubus

Rubus: Salmonberry and Thimbleberry

Rubus spectabilis: Salmonberry and Rubus parviflora: Thimbleberry vary in flavor depending on the growing site. Thimbleberry has the sometimes advantage of growing in drier conditions, while Salmonberry requires moist conditions to thrive. Both are edible raw: Thimbleberries more reliably sweet; Salmonberries are sweet but sometimes bland in taste. Both are also made into jams and jellies and sauces

Recipe: Salmonberry Jam

Sambucus racemosa

Sambucus: Elderberry

Both the Sambucus cearulea: Blue Elderberry and Sambucus racemosa: Red Elderberry are edible and widely used, but as there is controversy and disagreement about fresh eating, be sure to cook the fruit before eating (also note that all parts of the plant other than the fruit are highly toxic). Used for jams and jellies and baked goods – the blue elderberry can also be turned into a delicious cordial.

Recipe: Elderberry Pie

Gaultheria shallon

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

When fully ripe the berries are sweet and are often mixed with other native berries for jellies and jams. It has plenty of natural pectin for setting the jelly/jam, too.

Recipe: Salal Jelly

The following natives have edible fruit, but definitely need to be sweetened or mixed with sweeter fruit - they’re much too tart to eat alone:

viburnum-trilobum150

Viburnum trilobum: American Cranberry Bush

The plentiful fruit, quite tart when fresh, is high in vitamin C. Tasty when cooked and used like you would cranberries - in sauces, condiments, jams and jellies.

Mahonia aquifolium

Mahonia aquifolium: Oregon Grape

Berries tend to be tart, so are made into jellies and jams with sweeter berries (and/or lots of sugar).

Recipe: Oregon Grape Apple Jelly

Recipe: Oregon Grape Jam

malus fusca

Malus fusca: Western Crabapple

Edible but tart (again, think jam, where you add lots of sugar). Raw seeds are considered toxic and should be discarded.

prunus virginiana

Prunus virginiana: Chokecherry

Also in the category of edible but tart, these fruits carry a lot of juice and natural pectin and are used to make delicious jellies and pies. Note: Though they are edible and nutritious, the seeds contain small amounts of hydrogen cyanide – usually in too small a quantity to cause harm – but please be aware that ANY extremely bitter seeds or fruit should not be eaten.

Recipe: Chokecherry Jam

crataegus-douglassii

Crataegus douglassii: Black Hawthorne

Edible but with a slightly mealy texture, these berries are also high in pectin, making them a superb thickening agent for those homemade jams and jellies. They are also used in pies and tarts. Beware of the cherry-sized pit, if eating them fresh!

Recipe: Hawthorne Butter

Find Natives for your garden

We offer a great selection of Northwest Natives from spring through fall. The plants featured are highlighted favorites, but they do not represent ALL of the plants we carry. For a more complete list, see our Northwest Native Plant List.

Natives

Abies: Native Fir

Natives

Acer Circinatum: Vine Maple

Natives

Actaea: Bugbane

Natives

Aquilegia: Columbine

Natives

Arbutus: Pacific Madrone

Natives

Asarum: Wild Ginger

Natives

Asclepias: Milkweed

Natives

Attracting Butterflies

Natives

Camassia: Camas

Natives

Ceanothus: Wild Lilac

Natives

Cornus sericea

Red Twig Dogwood
Natives

Corylus cornuta

Beaked Hazelnut
Natives

Dodecatheon: Shooting Star

Natives

Edible Fruits

Natives

Erigeron: Fleabane

Natives

Eriophyllum: Oregon Sunshine

Natives

Native Ferns

Natives

Fragaria: Wild Strawberry

Natives

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

Natives

Holodiscus: Oceanspray

Natives

Attracting Hummingbirds

Natives

Native Iris

Natives

Lewisia: Bitterroot

Natives

Mahonia: Oregon Grape

Natives

Malus fusca

Western Crabapple
Natives

Osmaronia: Indian Plum

Natives

Penstemon: Beard Tongue

Natives

Philadelphus: Mock Orange

Natives

Physocarpus

Western Ninebark
Natives

Pinus: Native Pine

Natives

Quercus: Garry Oak

Natives

Rhamnus: Cascara

Natives

Ribes: Wild Currant

Natives

Rosa: Wild Rose

Natives

Rubus: Salmonberry

Natives

Sambucus: Elderberry

Natives

Sedum: Stonecrop

Natives

Sidalcea: Checker Mallow

Natives

Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed Grass
Natives

Solidago: Goldenrod

Natives

Symphoricarpos: Snowberry

Natives

Synthyris: Native Figwort

Natives

Trillium: Wake Robin

Natives

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Natives

Vancouveria: Inside-out Flower

Natives

Viburnum trilobum

Cranberrybush
Natives

Viola: Violet

Natives

Winter Interest