Northeast and Midwest: Fruit Producing Trees

Photo © JR P

Native fruit-producing trees and shrubs are essential components of diverse habitats. With a little space, these regionally-appropriate plants make excellent additions to most sites. Even better, wildlife visitors–from the smallest pollinators to mammals–will use these trees for food and shelter.

Common Hackberry

Photo © Vern Wilkins

Above: Common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Description: This large deciduous tree can reach 60-100 feet tall with distinctive bark that forms unique projections as the tree matures.
Bloom: Flowers in April and forms greenish balls that eventually turn purple in the fall.
Wildlife: Butterflies, squirrels, quail, Ring-necked Pheasant, Wild Turkey, Cedar Waxwings, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Mockingbirds, American Robins, and other songbirds.

Paw Paw

Photo © Alice Crain

Above: Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
Description: This small native tree produces mango like fruit that have aromatic hints of banana and mango. These trees are usually found in the understory of a larger canopied forest.
Bloom: They bloom in spring with vibrant maroon flowers then create oblong, green fruits with creamy-yellow flesh and purple/black seeds summer.
Wildlife: Small mammals, Zebra Swallowtail and Pawpaw sphinx butterflies, and songbirds.


Photo © George Thomas

Above: Wild Crabapple (Malus angustifolia)
Description: These adaptable, small trees, reach 20-35 feet in height. They require partial shade and moist soil to set fruit.
Blooms: White/pink flowers in the spring with apples produced in the late summer, early fall, which can provide a reliable winter food supply.
Wildlife: Small mammals, deer, native bees, American Robin, Northern Bobwhites, grouse, Ring-necked Pheasants, waxwings, grosbeaks, crossbills, bluebirds, thrushes, Gray Catbirds, Northern Cardinals, waxwings, and finches.

Flowering Dogwood

Photo © Martin LaBar

Above: Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)
Description: This small deciduous tree reaches about 40 feet with white, pink or red flowers.
Bloom: Flowers set in May-June with ripening fall berries.
Wildlife: Fruit-eating mammals, Spring Azure Butterfly, deer, American Robins, bluebirds, thrushes, Gray Catbirds, Northern Cardinals, tanagers, and grosbeaks.

Eastern Red Cedar

Photo © Joshua Mayer

Above: Eastern Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Description: These coniferous trees reach 30-50 feet tall with dark scales for leaves and reddish-brown bark.
Bloom: Dark blue berries ripen in early autumn and can be a food source throughout winter.
Wildlife: Small mammals, Olive butterfly, waxwings, Northern Mockingbirds, sparrows, thrushes and Gray Catbirds.

Add it to your map

Placing and IDing your trees and shrubs.
First, add your trees and shrubs as objects to your map by selecting the Toolshed and Second.


Photo ©

Then, make sure to complete the characteristics by clicking on the green Info window. First identify your plant under Basic Information. If you enter the common or scientific name in the second bar, this will connect to the USDA plant database. Select the name that correlates to your plant.


Photo ©

Then, complete the characteristics by telling us about the features of this specific tree or shrub.


Photo ©

Other regional fruit tree recommendations:
Rocky Mountains
Pacific Mixed Forest
California Chaparral

Log in with your Cornell Citizen Science Username and Password below to leave a comment or ask a question

(This is the same username you use to sign-in to eBird, the Habitat Network, Celebrate Urban Birds, FeederWatch, NestWatch, Maccaulay Library)