Edible Ornamental Fruits – Why Is My Ornamental Tree Fruiting

Ornamental Tree With Red Fruit
(Image credit: BigCrew)

Ornamental trees are prized for their foliage and, above all else, their flowers. But flowers often lead to fruit, which leads to a very important question: are ornamental tree fruits edible? That really depends upon the type of tree. It also often depends upon the distinction between “edible” and “good.” Keep reading to learn more about fruit from ornamental trees.

Why Ornamental Tree Has Fruit

Is fruit from ornamental trees good to eat? It’s hard to pinpoint a real ornamental tree definition, since many trees are grown just as much for their fruit as for their appearance. In fact, a new trend is cropping up in showcasing tasty, high yield fruit trees as ornamentals in the garden and landscape. There are plenty of pear, apple, plum, and cherry trees that are cultivated equally for their taste and their appearance. Some trees, however, are bred as ornamentals and produce fruit more as an afterthought. These trees include:

The edible ornamental fruits of these trees have not been bred for their flavor and, while completely edible, are not very pleasant eaten raw. They are, however, perfectly palatable and actually quite popular in pies and preserves. Purple-leafed plums, in particular, rarely yield high amounts of fruit, as they bloom early in the spring before pollination is in full swing. The small brown fruits found on ornamental pears (like Bradford pears), on the other hand, are inedible. If you are unsure of a fruit’s edibility, try to determine its exact variety to be sure and, of course, always err on the side of caution.

Some Ornamental Non-Ornamentals

If you’re looking to plant a tree that’s both spectacular and tasty, a few varieties include:

All of these offer fantastic ornamental flowers in the spring, followed by rich, high yielding fruit in the summer.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.