Native trees and shrubs with edible crops foster diverse populations of wildlife. Residential yards may seem unlikely for growing food. But several native species can thrive in urban areas. What’s more, they produce delicious crops for you and your family.
Also, these native species benefit pollinators and songbirds. Their root systems help increase soil microorganisms. If you or your customers are interested in growing native edibles, try the species listed below.
This tropical-looking fruit occurs through the eastern and southeastern United States. It is the largest native fruit of North America. Pawpaw is Missouri’s state fruit tree. The taste of pawpaw is like a combination of mango, banana, and peach.
The pecan is the largest commercial crop of native fruits or nuts produced in North America. In fact, 75% of the world’s production comes from this continent. Good in a range of dishes or on their own, both humans and wildlife love the sweet, edible nuts. They’re also full of health benefits, including antioxidants. Growing pecans requires time. But trees can grow and produce quality nuts for decades with minimal effort required. Pecan is an ideal native tree for orchard production.
Persimmons are easy-to-grow and tolerate winter temperatures to -25 degrees Fahrenheit! They can grow throughout the eastern United States. Persimmon adapts to various soil types including wet to light sandy soils. Once established, they can withstand considerable drought.
This shrub grows is native to the eastern half of North America. It adapts to a wide range of growing conditions. Plants begin bearing the tasty nuts at around the four-year mark and can grow as a bush or a single-stem tree. Hazelnut plants prefer full sun but can thrive on part sun sites.
Also known as chokeberry, the medium-sized deciduous native shrub occurs on moist sites. It’s also suitable for urban planting as it can tolerate pollution and grow in both full and partial sun.
Wildlife benefits from aronia. Pollinators enjoy the spring flowers and songbirds relish the berries. Its structure makes it a great addition for wildlife cover. This species is also useful for rain gardens.
Its blueberry-sized fruits are edible. Aronia berries have the highest known levels of antioxidants, 5x that of blueberries.
Elderberry, or American elder, is a short, deciduous shrub. Preserves, wines, and pastries berries use its berries. Rich in nectar, these plants benefit bees and aid in honey production. For humans, the health benefits include antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities.
Elderberries fruit faster than many other edible plants. Shrubs often produce fruit by their second year. Many new canes sprout and reach full height in one season with lateral branches in the second. This species is native to most of the eastern half of the U.S. and can be grown in a range of conditions. They can survive significant droughts but prefer moist soils.
More Edible Natives for Farm and Yard
- American plum
Experts In All Things Native
We’re dedicated to our mission of ‘restoring Earth’s ecosystems one tree at a time’. We’ve supplied native plants across the country and around the world for more than 75 years.
We can help you provide your customers with the best native plants available. Check out this guide for more information on our specialty crops.
Contact us today. A member of our team can assist with helping you find exactly what you need for your customers.