What are the red berries on trees?

Have you ever walked past a tree and wondered what those pretty red berries hanging from its branches were? Perhaps, you’ve even considered trying to eat them. Well, before you go chowing down like a hungry squirrel, let’s investigate just what these little fruits are.

The Mysterious Little Red Balls

Red berries can be found on an assortment of trees throughout various regions of the world. They come in different shades of red and sizes, but all have one thing in common: they look deliciously poisonous.

These little balls of doom may resemble other fruit such as cranberries or cherries; however, the truth couldn’t be farther from reality. Trust me when I say this – stay away unless you want to spend some quality time with your porcelain throne for hours.

Why Can’t We Eat Them?

You’re probably wondering “Why not?” – after all, humans have been eating plants of every sort for ages! But hold up there buddy, because mother nature has decided that some things should NOT pass through our lips.

Some red berries on trees contain toxins which wreak havoc inside our bodies leading to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, diarrhea: essentially anything bad that could possibly happen will indeed happen if consumed by us crazy Homo sapiens.

Screw Humans…What About Animals That Do Eat Them?

Ah yes, creatures much braver than ourselves tend to devour these deadly morsels often without incident (Lucky devils!). Who knew animals had superpowers?

Deer seem quite fond of eating red berry buds during their Winter season snack attack as well as Cedar Waxwings happily munching away (Yes those exist), although it seems their taste preferences ahem differ greatly from ours unfortunate humanoids.

Let Me Introduce You To These ‘Berried’ Trees

So now we know: tasting these festive fruits may lead to a lot of unpleasantness, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still appreciate their beauty. Here are some trees that bear red berries as part of their vibrant colours.


Hawthorns produce small clusters of bright or dark red berry-like fruits around Autumn, complementing the yellows and oranges gold-colored leaves for a picturesque sight. Depending on species, these bushes can grow up to 30 ft tall with apples like flowers in spring.


Kissing under mistletoes during Christmas has become something of an age-old tradition, but where does it come from? The answer: the white-berried mistletoe plant (viscum album). However, not all species have white berries; others such as Arceuthobium contain orange-red berries instead. Moreover, did you know what people put out just one sprig per year when hanging for decoration?

Mountain Ash Tree

Mountain Ash comes with pretty beige-pink flowers throughout springtime before forming perfect bunches of blazing scarlet pea-sized fruit clusters later into autumn – visually enchanting spectacles against leathery green foliage leaflets giving any passerby mountain ash serious tree envy!

Serviceberry Tree

Serviceberries yearly crop oval-shaped tapered-pointed soft rose-orangey-reddish three-quarter-inch-long fruit ripens mid-June through late July refreshing taste variously described being similar blueberries grapes – delicious treats!

Those Red Berries May Have A Purpose After All

While eating them is probably excluded from nature’s game plan for humans’ digestive tract(s) survival, there may be other purposes these striking orbs serve across different scenarios in the animal kingdom.

Most times animals chow down large amounts as it serves medicinal or defense purpose depending on animal behaviour differing greatly between each species. For example:

1) Deer feed off hawthorn buds so they don’t burn through their stored fat as quickly.
2) Birds eat a lot of what would be toxic to us in order make themselves poisonous predators for defense.
3) Many others, including squirrels gobbling up holly berries before Winter takes full force (they are an excellent source of protein and other chips).

The End…Or Is It?

So there you have it folks – the myriad mysteries behind the red berries on trees. I hope this article quenched your curiosity and provided some insightful surprises along the way. And while you may still be wondering how these deadly fruit end up in our supermarkets; let’s save that topic for another day – because frankly, I need my mental capabilities intact after writing about these devilish delights.

Stay curious, stay safe!