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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - January 14, 2012

From: London, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Identification of shrub with red berries in Kentucky
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Laurel CO, KY. I am trying to identify a shrub/tree. The leaves are green and may turn reddish orange. There are huge pods of red berries hanging.

ANSWER:

If your shrub/tree is native to North America, you might be able to find it in our Native Plant Database by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH and choosing "Kentucky" from Select State or Province and "Shrub" from Habit (general appearance).  You can also do the same search but substitute "Tree" for "Shrub" in your search.  Not all of the species that come up in the list will have photos of the fruit of the shrub or tree.  You can, however, scroll down to near the bottom of the species page and, under ADDITIONAL RESOURCES, choose Google.   On the Google page, choose Images from the menu at the top and you might find photos of the shrub or tree with its fruit.

You should try the searches above in case I missed something, but here are some possibilities that I found doing the searches described above:

Amelanchier arborea (Common serviceberry) and here are photos of the fruit and fall leaves.

Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington hawthorn) and here are fall leaves.

Crataegus spathulata (Littlehip hawthorn) and here are photos of the fruit.

Photinia pyrifolia (Red chokeberry)

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)

Rhus copallinum (Winged sumac)

Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn sumac)

Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa (Red elderberry)

Viburnum opulus var. americanum (American cranberry bush) and here are photos of fall leaves.

Crataegus dilatata (Broadleaf hawthorn) and here are photos of the plant.

Frangula caroliniana (Carolina buckthorn)

If you suspect it is a cultivated landscape shrub or tree rather than a native one and you have (or can take) photos of it, your best bet is to visit our Plant Identification page where you will find links to plant identification forums that will accept photos for identification

 

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