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Wild berries - Dogwood or other?

 
Michelle Bisson
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We have these wild berries growing the woodland area of our property.  Can anyone identify them?  They are in the understory of red maple and hemlock.  I am in zone 4a/3b zone in Québec Canada.


I would like to know if these berries are edible and anything else you would like to share about them.

I believe them to be from the dogwood scrub/tree.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Could be some species of Viburnum?
 
Mike Jay
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I just looked through my berry book and my best guess is that it's Wild Raisin (Viburnum Cassinoides).  My second guess would be a dogwood.  My book says wild raisin is very good to eat.  My book only covers WI, MI and MN so there could be other look-alikes in your area.  So please check a berry identification book before you eat them but I think you may have a good berry there.
 
Roy Hinkley
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We have em here too.
Alternate Leaf dogwood.

 
Michelle Bisson
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If anyone has some on their property, can you take pictures of them and post them here?
 
Roy Hinkley
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Plenty would say use Google images but I always use startpage.com for searches.

Go here
https://classic.startpage.com

in the search put Alternate Leaf dogwood

look in the top left corner for the "images" tab and click that for a search of pictures
 
Michelle Bisson
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Thanks Roy!  why is this search engine better?

-----

I found this link about https://nativeplants.evergreen.ca/search/view-plant.php?ID=00230

It states that the berries are NOT edible.  I have not tried them nor will do so unless it is confirmed by several reliable sources that they are.  I do not want to get sick or poisoned.

 
John Weiland
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@Michelle B.: " I have not tried them nor will do so unless it is confirmed by several reliable sources that they are."

I agree that from your photo, your's may look more like dogwood, but am posting a composite of photos of Nannyberry from Google Images [source link: http://kuse.medford.k12.wi.us/Media/Images/Plants/TreesVinesShrubs/NannyberryComposite.jpg ; ]. 

Because if you can ID them as Nannyberry, they make great jam, especially when mixed with something like apple.
NannyberryComposite.jpg
[Thumbnail for NannyberryComposite.jpg]
 
Michelle Bisson
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Nannyberry - this is the first time I have heard about them.  but the fruit in your images looks similar to my photo as they are oval and pink (unripe) and black (or very dark) when ripe.

In the spring I see the white flowers on our land that I am pretty sure are dogwood, but this bush/tree in my photo, I do not remember the same white flowers, but maybe I just don't remember.

From the dogwood berries images of my research the berries were a totally round, but in my photo above the berries are oval like in your photo.  I do not remember the distintive dogwood veins in the leaves like in the images of dogwood leaves.


We do have a ground cover dogwood, bunchberry. 

see: Go Permaculture Food Forest - our suburban permaculture journey to see my sharing about bunchberries.


Michelle Bisson wrote:


So I am leaning towards them being Nannyberries, but of course until I am 100% sure, I will not eat them.  But if they are Nannyberries, they would be a great berry in my Food forest.



 
John Weiland
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Although I don't know if it's a 100% foolproof diagnostic, you could try the "dogwood leaf test", in which you carefully pull the stem-half of one leaf from the tip-half.  The fibers in veins of the leaf of dogwoods tend to form silk-like connections as show below.  The weblink shown is for a photographer, I believe in Quebec.
DogwoodTest.JPG
[Thumbnail for DogwoodTest.JPG]
 
Tyler Ludens
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It looks just like our Rusty Blackhaw, Viburnum rufidulum, but I don't know if that species of Viburnum grows in your area.  Not a Dogwood, in my opinion.  The leaves are different.

 
Mike Jay
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I think it's a good time to invest in a good field guide for berries for your province/area.  We're all taking guesses but in the end you need to be sure of what you have before you eat it.  Here's a picture of Wild Raisin - viburnum cassinoides which is my guess.
Wild-Raisin.png
[Thumbnail for Wild-Raisin.png]
 
Michelle Bisson
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After doing some more research about nannyberries, a few things that about them are that they are often called wild grapes because they shrivel up when they are at the edible stage.  They also start to lose their leaves at the ripening stage.  When they are ripen they turn black.

My trees have these features. When we go back to our lot this weekend, I will examine and take more pictures of the trees and berries so I can compare it with my research.

http://ontariotrees.com/main/species.php?id=2062

---
I will do the splitting the dogwood leaf test above.


 
Roy Hinkley
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StartPage, and its sister search engine Ixquick, are the only third-party certified search engines in the world that do not record your IP address or track your searches.

Every time you use a regular search engine, your search data is recorded. Major search engines capture your IP address and use tracking cookies to make a record of your search terms, the time of your visit, and the links you choose - then they store that information in a giant database.
https://classic.startpage.com/eng/protect-privacy.html?hmb=1
 
Douglas Campbell
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I am next door in New Brunswick.
I think these are 'wild raisin', Viburnum nudum, or another Viburnum.

They are edible, and some people rave about them, but I do not bother picking them.  They ripen purple, and shrivel into raisins on the shrub.

'Dogwood' is usually used around here for species of Cornus shrubs.  Cornus always has distinctive curved veins along the long axis of the leaf.
Local names are confusing.
 
Chris Sargent
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When you're IDing berries you need to look at the leaf shape, growth habit of the bush, stem growth pattern, and more.   Not just the color or size of the berry.  Especially if you're going to eat them...you really want to make sure you know what you have.

I don't believe these are a dogwood.  The leaves on those have distinct parallel veins.  They could be the nannyberries.  Can you get a better picture of the leaves.  Also do the leaves grow opposite of each other along the stem?

 
Michelle Bisson
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Thank you all who participated in this discussion!  After my research, and what was shared here, I am now convinced that the berries are Nannyberries (Wild Raisons) (Blackhaw).  The first picture show the lentil oval shaped stones.

I discovered that I have at least four of these small trees.  Now that they are identified, I will try to make sure that I keep them in our food forest.  They have very beautiful looking berries.
 
Laurel Pinkmountain
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How did they taste?  I'm skeptical.  Viburnum I've tasted seem to be a mix of styrofoam and soap.  I'm open to being wrong though!
 
Michelle Bisson
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I found them mild, lighty sweeten, spicy like in pumpkin pie. Of course not exactly.  I am trying to describe a taste that I never had before.

There was definitely nothing offensive about the taste.  It is too bad there is a large seed/stone so not much fruit on each berry.

 
John Weiland
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@Michelle B: "I am trying to describe a taste that I never had before. There was definitely nothing offensive about the taste.  It is too bad there is a large seed/stone so not much fruit on each berry. "

The flavor the comes to mind for me is dried prunes.  I find the berries make a very good jam....they are ripening pretty soon now and the crabapple trees are a good companion to use.   Cook in a bit of water a bunch of the dark nannyberries including the stone/seed along with a few crabapples.  Cook until they are all quite soft, then position a metal mesh colander (strainer) over a separate pan.  Dump the water/apples/nannyberries into the colander letting the excess water flow into the pan below.  Now take a wooden spoon or pestle and stir/press the apple/berry mix in the colander, expressing the pulp through the mesh as much as possible.  The seeds will stay behind, as will larger pieces of apple.  Finally, scrape the pulp from the bottom side of the colander and add this to the pan below.  Sweeten to taste and prepare as you would any other jam, probably with a bit of added pectin, maybe a touch of lemon juice as well for zing.  Quite good and a reliable late-season addition to the canned-food pantry.
 
Michelle Bisson
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Thanks John!  I appreciate the explanation.  It is a good way to use nannyberries.
 
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