A simple illustrated guide to identify some of the more common hedgerow berries you may see on an autumn country walk.
Recently I enjoyed a walk along a country lane that was bordered by hedges that were absolutely dripping with berries. Some of them I could immediately identify; others not. So I thought it would be good to make a post describing the most common berries you might find on an autumnal country walk.
When walking in the country I sometimes deliberately refrain from speedily scooting along them. I remind myself that I often don’t have to get from A to B as quickly as possible. So I slow down and begin to notice the plant life alongside the path. In the spring and summer this might involve photographing and identifying the wild flowers. In the autumn it involves looking more closely at the berries of the hedgerow trees and bushes. When I do this, I will observe some nature I would otherwise have missed. Perhaps a butterfly feeding on an over-ripe sloe. Or a spider spinning its web in between a cluster of rose hips. Or maybe an unusual beetle on a rowan berry. Does such a slow approach appeal to you? If so, I hope this little guide is inspirational as well as informative. It’s a companion piece to a previous article I wrote on How to identify farm crops during a country walk. I hope both can make a country walk more fun, both for adults and children.
A word of warning. Some of these berries are edible, others are toxic. So before picking and eating one, be sure you have made the correct identification! Unless otherwise stated, most are “berry size”: that is, the size of a pea. Where identification of the berry is tricky, I indicate the characteristic leaves of that plant. Pictures are mine unless otherwise indicated.
I hope this has given you a useful if brief guide to identify 15 of the most common hedgerow berries, at least in Western Europe. As I mentioned earlier, take care if you are going to collect berries to eat. It might be best to stick to the more easily identifiable species. If you come across a berry you are unsure of, you can always send me a photo via WhatsApp and I’ll do my best to help:
Of course, the above berries are limited to trees and bushes. I don’t cover berries of flowering plants growing on the ground. I will soon be writing a post called: How to identify nuts on an autumn walk. If you want to receive this post – as well as all other new posts – straight in your inbox, add your email below:
Thanks for your attention, and I hope you have a Berry Enjoyable walk! 🙂