Berberis ID?

Does anyone recognise this? A small young shrubby tree in partial shade growing wild in a mixed woods in West Cork, Ireland. Maybe 1.5m tall. Something about it was really familiar and grabbing my attention at the time (photos taken Nov 17th). The fruit smelt vaguely of apple and quite appetising, I obviously did not taste it.

Searching later suggested maybe Berberis or Dogwood? Or even a crabapple? Both can be found here wild apparently.

I have a half acre backyard orchard here but often dream of finding an interesting wild fruit cultivar to work with.

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I see some resemblance to berberis or barberry…but minus thorns…so I am not positive.

Could be cornel or the item called Cornelian Cherry Dogwood here in US.

Do you know yet if it is evergreen or deciduous? Absence of thorns and clusters of yellow blooms in spring leads me to think cornus or the Cornelian Cherry dogwood. (But I do know there is one or more berberis that don’t have thorns…“bullata”…but I don’t think that is your plant).

Cornus mas

The leaves were very green and glossy for mid-November so quit possibly evergreen. I’ll pop in soon to check, and again to ID flowers in spring.

The growth was quite thin and lanky (shaded) and the site was bordering running water. I think I remember a single seed or seed casing inside, but the fruit had a higher flesh ratio than something like a haw. Smelt very good like sweet/sharp apple flesh. The plant really called to me to notice it for some reason.

Unfortunately there are so many barberries in the world I can’t rule it out at this point. The berberis bullata I mentioned has little white flowers and might be evergreen if temperature stayed above 20 F or something like that.
The dogwood if that is it, should eventually lose the leaves as I only know of evergreen dogwoods from Asia…usually zone 8 hardy.

Odds are your fruit is edible, but until the ID is positive, use caution.

Don’t worry as a veteran fungi hunter caution is my middle name and my ID standards are high. Thanks for your assessment of the pics, seems worth keeping an eye on.

Possibly a type of cotoneaster, many species ?


I hadn’t even thought of that…
I don’t know of one that has fruit quite like the picture,
but there are a lot of varieties. So, there’s a chance that is
it also.

I went for a visit. Observations:

The tree is more like 2.5-3m. The central leader snapped so could have been much taller but trunk diameter is small and looks young. Structure more tree than shrub like with single trunk. Definitely no thorns. Kind of furry buds.

Leaves and fruits were still on the tree. It has lost most of each since november. We’ve had mild weather but some heavy storms. Possibly evergreen, pretty much all the other deciduous leaves are gone here.

Leaves are 1 inch or smaller. Still dark and glossy. Alternate. Some hairs on upper side.

Fruit is bright red. I notice some yellow this time, possibly from ripening? The fruit has 3-4 seeds each. Seeds are between flat teardrop and wedge shaped, pointed, light brown. The impression of aroma is completely gone at this level of ripeness. Mealy and bland (did not eat).

Apologies if this is the equivalent of a Little Brown Mushroom request on a fungi forum. The scale above is centimeters (2.5cm=1in).

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Searching for cotoneaster fruit and seeds and it honestly looks right. The same light brown wedge shape. And the blossom end of the fruit developing slight black colouring. The seeds had the same lighter coloured patch on the back where attached to the flesh. Thanks for all the help with the ID you two.

From google images:

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If ? It is a cotoneaster ?
This may be helpful …

Or …?
Too much information .