What berry is this?

Asked July 26, 2018, 9:01 PM EDT

This 6' Bush grows in my yard. Has white flowers in the spring and these red berries end of July. The berries have the skin thickness of a tomato and when smushed have 5 or 6 seeds in a runny fruit just like a tomato. The berries are smaller than a cranberry. I'm just wondering what it is? Thank you!

Lawrence County South Dakota

3 Responses

This is Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) and it can be easily identified by its opposite, ovate leaves that have a slight bluish-green color. The fruit is an orange-red berry, usually found in clusters of two’s, and occur at the axils of the leaves rather than on the terminal of the shoots. The plant, a native of Central Asia, was widely planted as a tough windbreak shrub and has become even more widely disseminated by the birds as they carry the seeds. The shrub has lost its value as a windbreak plant due to the introduction of the honeysuckle aphid in the early 1980s. This insect is responsible for the witches-brooming commonly seen on the tips of affected shrubs. The fruit is widely regarded as poisonous to humans, though there is not much documentation regarding this fact. Vomiting and abdominal pains are often given as the symptoms following eating the fruit. Europe is where most of the information on toxicity comes from, but no sense tempting fate. I would suggest avoid eating this fruit fresh or using it in jams or jellies. Interestingly, one paper from the United States points out a study where the fruit was found to be poisonous to rabbits so it’s not all bad news.

Thank you so much!