6 Common Texas Trees with Berries (& How to Identify Them)

Last Updated:
Photo of author

Environmental Politics & Permaculture Enthusiast

This article may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links. Learn more.
Home » Texas » 6 Common Texas Trees with Berries (& How to Identify Them)

There are many trees in Texas that produce little berries that are colorful and add ornamental interest and some that are even edible!

Since the state is so big, Texas spans USDA zones 6 through 10 and includes many different species.

Many of these trees grow in forests and parks available to the public, where they can be foraged if you know how to identify them.

Berries are often studied by people who want to learn about foraging wild foods. This is because berries are the most commonly found wild fruit and are easier to forage than fruits in tall trees.

However, not all berries growing on trees are edible for humans. Often, birds or wildlife will come eat wild berries but many species are inedible for humans and will cause indigestion.

For this reason, when foraging berries- or any wild food- you should be sure that you know what you’re picking.

Check out this quick guide to learn about six trees with berries, if you can eat their berries, and how to identify them.

6 Trees with Wild Berries in Texas

1. Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria)

Image by Urban Forestry via Flickr

The Yaupon tree commonly grows from central TX onward, and is native to southeast TX. It’s also called a Yaupon Holly because it’s a type of Holly tree and closely resembles the standard Holly tree.

Yaupon trees also have dark green and glossy leaves with toothed edges. Their berries are bright red but are slightly lighter than Holly berries.

Yaupon is a fairly small tree often planted for landscaping, where it can be pruned to stay even smaller or used for a hedge. When growing naturally, they will grow taller and reach their full mature height.

These trees bloom with small, pale green flowers in the spring. The flowers are followed by the berries that persist through summer, fall, and into winter if not eaten by wildlife.

The berries are inedible for humans but their branches contain caffeine and can be brewed into a tea! Consuming too much can lead to vomiting, so be moderate!

Other Common Names: Yaupon Holly, Cassina

Growing Zones: 7-9

Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 ft tall by 8-12 ft wide

Season: Fruits in summer

2. Possumhaw (Ilex decidua)

Image by Sonnia Hill via Flickr

Possumhaw is a Texas native that’s also from the same family as Yaupon and Holly. So, naturally, it has many of the same features.

Possumhaw trees also have dark green, glossy leaves, but they turn purple-red in the fall, then drop. They have similar light green flowers that bloom in the spring.

Their berries are orange-red and appear in the summer, staying through the winter. These berries are also inedible for humans but attract wildlife.

The one thing that distinguishes a Possumhaw from a Yaupon is that Possumhaw trees are deciduous, so they lose their leaves in the fall and winter. Yaupon trees are evergreen and keep their leaves year-round.

Other Common Names: Deciduous Holly, Possumhaw Holly, Meadow Holly, Bearberry, Winterberry

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 7-15 ft tall by 5-12 ft wide

Season: Fruits in summer

3. Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana)

Texas Persimmon
Image by Lars Plougmann via Flickr

The Texas Persimmon is also a native Texas fruit tree. Persimmon fruits grow in many parts of the world but this species is only found in Texas and surrounding areas.

These trees are taller and when growing in the wild, will reach their full mature height. They have dark green, glossy leaves that turn dark purple to maroon in the fall.

In the spring, these trees bloom with flowers in large clusters. They’re bell-shaped, white flowers that are highly fragrant.

After the flowers, the fruits appear in the summer and ripen in the fall. They have a similar taste to regular Persimmons (Diospyros virginiana), but have a distinct dark purple, almost black color.

These fruits are edible and tasty! Persimmons are about the size of an apple, but they’re classified as a berry because they contain several seeds.

Other Common Names: Texan Persimmon, Southern Persimmon

Growing Zones: 4-10

Average Size at Maturity: 35-60 ft tall by 25-35 ft wide

Season: Flowers in Spring; Fruits in Fall

4. Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus)

Image by Matthew Hurst via Flickr

Blackberries grow on bushes rather than tall trees, but these bushes can get pretty tall when growing in the wild and are considered small trees or shrubs. It’s also possible to prune a blackberry shrub to make it have the shape of a small tree.

Blackberry bushes grow all over the U.S. and grow in most of Texas, especially well in north Texas. These bushes have long branches, called canes, with thick thorns.

Their leaves are green with toothed edges. The berries form during the summer but they begin as bright red. These shouldn’t be mistaken for raspberries because at this point, they’re hard and super tart!

Throughout the summer they become darker and fill with juice, making them sweeter. Blackberries are prime for harvest in late summer to early fall. They’re easy to grow in an edible garden and even easier to spot growing in the wild!

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 4-10 ft tall by 4-6 ft wide

Season: Flowers in spring; Fruits in summer

5. English Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata ‘Punicea’)

English Hawthorn
Image by 阿橋 HQ via Flickr

English Hawthorn trees are another that can be considered a small tree or a large bush. They’re very popular for landscaping because of their beautiful blooms but they also grow wildly throughout most of Texas.

These trees are easily recognizable in the spring when they’re in full bloom. English Hawthorns have profuse blooms of bright pink flowers with white centers. These flowers are tiny but they bloom in large clusters that cover the tree.

English Hawthorn trees have dense crowns of green leaves and low-reaching branches. The branches have thick thorns about one inch long.

They’re covered in bright red berries in late summer and fall, attracting lots of wildlife. These berries are considered edible by many people but some who eat them have digestive problems. Eat at your own discretion!

Other Common Names: Midland Hawthorn

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 18-25 ft tall by 18-25 ft wide

Season: Flowers in Spring; Fruits in Fall

6. Hackberry Tree (Celtis occidentalis)

Hackberry tree
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

Hackberry trees fruit with fruits that look like berries, but they’re actually “drupes.” The difference is that, technically, berries have several seeds while drupes only have one center seed.

These trees can grow quite tall, so they’re not commonly sought after by foragers. However, they make great shade trees that double as fruit trees!

Their edible fruits are very tasty and sweet, loved by those who collect them. They attract lots of wildlife and whatever fruits aren’t eaten, stay on the tree through winter.

Hackberry trees have slender, oval-shaped leaves that are green when they first appear. Then, through the fall, they turn bright yellow. These trees have a pyramidal shape when young, then form a large, open crown in maturity.

Hackberry trees have a grayish-brown bark that makes them easy to identify. The bark is warped in a unique way and has large “warts.”

Other Common Names: Common Hackberry, American Hackberry, Beaverwood, False Elm

Growing Zones: 2-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 ft tall by 40-60 ft wide

Season: Flowers in Spring; Fruits in Fall

Table Comparing Texas Berry Tree Varieties

Here’s a table summarizing six types of trees with wild berries that can be grown successfully in Texas.

VarietyDescriptionGrowing ZonesAverage Size at Maturity
YauponA Holly tree native to southeast TX with dark green, glossy leaves and toothed edges. Produces bright red berries and small, pale green flowers in spring. Berries persist through summer, fall, and winter. The berries are inedible but branches can be brewed into a tea.7-910-20 ft tall x 8-12 ft wide
PossumhawSimilar to Yaupon, Possumhaw trees are deciduous with dark green, glossy leaves that turn purple-red in fall. Produces orange-red berries in summer that stay through winter. The berries attract wildlife but are inedible for humans.5-97-15 ft tall x 5-12 ft wide
Texas PersimmonA native fruit tree with dark green, glossy leaves turning dark purple to maroon in fall. Produces bell-shaped, fragrant white flowers in spring, followed by dark purple, almost black edible fruits in fall.4-1035-60 ft tall x 25-35 ft wide
BlackberryGrows as a bush or can be pruned as a small tree. Widespread across the U.S., including Texas, especially in the north. Features long thorny branches, green toothed leaves, and berries that mature from red to dark during summer. Blackberries are edible and ripe for harvest in late summer to early fall.4-94-10 ft tall x 4-6 ft wide
English HawthornSmall tree or large bush, popular for landscaping with profuse bright pink flowers with white centers in spring. Dense crowns with green leaves and low-reaching, thorny branches. Produces bright red berries in late summer and fall, which are edible but may cause digestive issues for some.5-818-25 ft tall x 18-25 ft wide
Hackberry TreeTall tree, great for shade, producing drupes (fruits that resemble berries) that are sweet and edible. The fruits are attractive to wildlife and persist through winter. The tree has slender, oval-shaped leaves that turn bright yellow in fall. The pyramidal shape when young develops into a large, open crown in maturity. The tree is recognizable by its grayish-brown, uniquely warped bark with large “warts.”2-940-60 ft tall x 40-60 ft wide

Welcome to the World of Foraging!

This is just a short list of trees in Texas with berries, but there are many more to learn about and to learn to identify. If you’re interested in foraging for wild edible plants in Texas, there is an abundance of plants to learn about.

Regardless of what you’re foraging for, what’s important with foraging is that you do research before collecting and eating what you find.

The Arbor Day Tree Identifier is helpful for identifying species you might not know. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center also has useful information on native species.

But, it doesn’t hurt to pay extra attention to the trees you walk by and try to identify what you’re seeing! The best way to build up knowledge about foraging is to go out and try to identify species.

Whether you’re interested in Texas trees with berries for foraging knowledge or for your edible garden, the six described here are a great place to start!

Related Articles:

Photo of author

Peyton Warmack-Chipman

Environmental Politics & Permaculture Enthusiast

Peyton considers trees not just as plants that provide shade or yummy fruits, but as necessary for a healthy life and community. Peyton has done most of her research on environmental politics, but recently has shifted her focus towards actual agricultural practices, learning about ideas like agroforestry, food forests, and permaculture gardening. She's most often in the kitchen whipping something up, but otherwise can be found on long bike rides or doing research.

2 thoughts on “6 Common Texas Trees with Berries (& How to Identify Them)”

  1. I live in Texas and was curious about the trees with the red berries on them. It looks like they are Possumhaw as they look like the berries in the photo above.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.