Tree identification by summer fruit.

A fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary and surrounding tissue. The seeds are enclosed within the ovary wall. If the wall becomes hard, the fruit is classified as Dry. If it becomes succulent the fruit is classified as Fleshy. Once the fruit is ripe and the seed has fully formed it needs to be dispersed away from the parent tree to promote new tree establishment. The surest way to achieve this is to get a bird or mammal to eat the fruit and then leave the seed in its droppings. Many trees have fleshy fruit which when first formed is green.  As the fruit ripens and usually becomes sweeter, it becomes more colourful. Birds and mammals search for fruits that are ripe and easy to see against the generally green background. Red, purple or black coloured fruit are favoured. The final colour of the fruit and its arrangement on the shoot can  be used to identify the tree.

Tree identification by summer fruit – photos of 7 trees with red fruits, 6 with purple/black fruits and 4 with yellow fruits are shown here. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

The ovary wall matures into the fruit wall known as the pericarp. It is made up of 3 layers. In some fruit all 3 layers develop but in others only one. Typically the middle layer (mesocarp) becomes fleshy, the outer layer (exocarp) may develop into the skin and the inner layer (endocarp) may become stony and surround the seeds. In other fleshy fruits such as  the Apple in the Rose Family, the hypanthium becomes part of the fruit as well as the ovary wall.

For more information on fleshy fruits Click HERE



Common Whitebeam

Swedish Whitebeam

Wild Cherry


Snowy Mespil


Cherry Laurel

Portugal Laurel


Black Mulberry

Buckthorn Purging

Crab Apple

Cherry Plum