My brother posted this picture from his yard asking the title question. Does anyone know what the fruit is?

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    They look too small to be cherries,and something about their translucence suggests they are not cherries. Cut one in half, see what's inside - it might be a crabapple, which won't have a stone but a small 'core', or something else which produces non edible fruits. – Bamboo Aug 8 '17 at 21:24
  • It has been said that they are colloquially called "choke cherries". – CramerTV Aug 8 '17 at 23:15
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    Questions of edibility are off topic; see help center – Niall C. Aug 8 '17 at 23:46
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    Chokecherries or. Chokeberries? Both are black when ripe, info on misnaming here en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aronia -could easily be chokeberry – Bamboo Aug 9 '17 at 0:19

I'm pretty sure that's Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)

The bark, leaves, and the coloration and surface texture all line up with what I would ID as an Autumn Olive - not to be confused with Russian Olive. Russian olive fruits in spring, but Autumn Olive fruits - well you get the idea.

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My only hesitation in this ID is the time of year of the photo. It is WAY too early on the east end of Long Island for there to be ripe fruit on an Autumn Olive. Is this photo from last year, or is it from a more northern climate?

EDIT: Autumn Olive is a nice and useful edible fruit (make sure you have a positive ID before consuming). The sweetness of the ripe fruit varies widely between plants and even year to year. So you may find one that is super tart even late in the season, while the next plant over is producing really sweet fruit. A quick google search for "Autumn Olive edibility" will give you plenty to work with.

  • It is from Northern Virginia - yesterday. – CramerTV Aug 9 '17 at 21:50
  • Nice link. I have not seen that site before. – CramerTV Aug 9 '17 at 21:51
  • is it from NOVA or the northern part of VA in the mountains? – That Idiot Aug 10 '17 at 11:11
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    The latter - Front Royal at the North end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.. – CramerTV Aug 10 '17 at 19:02
  • I lived in near Middleburg and then down near Culpeper - used to motorcycle out Front Royal way. Beautiful country around there. If those berries aren't fully ripe, they'll be just about the most tart thing you can taste. – That Idiot Aug 10 '17 at 20:08

They look like cherries, but I wouldn't take my word for it. I always remember the rule of thumb, don't eat red fruit you're not sure of.

Does this fruit have one large pit/stone or something else.

One thing that makes me suspicious is that the fruit is still on the tree. When I had cherry trees as soon as the fruit was ripe, the birds would eat them up.

So, they might be cherries. The fruit looks right, the leaves are close and I can't really see the bark clearly. Good luck! I hope it's a cherry tree.

  • It has a large pit. – CramerTV Aug 8 '17 at 22:10
  • I doubt it's a cherry. The fruit stems are too short, the fruit too translucent and the leaves don't fit either. – Stephie Aug 9 '17 at 9:32
  • I agree I am wrong. The scale has changed and oh my el wrongo! Grins. Is there anyway this fruit could be poisonous? Just can't remember right now... – stormy Aug 9 '17 at 22:50

It looks like Choke Cherry. This Pinterest page has some pictures and information.


This is what they call a pie cherry. The cherries are bitter not sweet. Birds still love them and they are wonderful for pies, thus the name, as long as sugar is added. Does this tree have thorns? I am unable to tell for sure in your picture. Your tree does need a bit of thinning and we can guide you through that process as well. Have you tasted one of these cherries? Not at all poisonous.

Wait a bit to allow others to chime in with their thoughts. I am ID ing as Prunus cerasus or Tart Cherry. Prunus cerasus

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    Leaves are too long for P..cerasifera... – Bamboo Aug 9 '17 at 0:28
  • Agree with @Bamboo, see also my comment on the other answer. – Stephie Aug 9 '17 at 9:34
  • leaves and bark are totally wrong for cherry, and the fruit does look like a crab apple but again the leaves are wrong- I've had a look at Bamboo's answer Aronia- and I think it might be one of those... – olantigh Aug 9 '17 at 16:28

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