10+ Different Types of Edible Wild Berries You Can Safely Eat

Written by August Croft
Updated: September 7, 2023
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Any amateur or expert forager will be the first to tell you that properly identifying wild berries is key to your safety. There are a number of different types of poisonous berries readily available in the average backyard, so how can you be sure that the berries you’ve just picked are indeed edible and not deadly?

In this article, we’ll go over a list of some of the most common and easily identifiable wild berries from around the world. With some practice and further study, you may find that wild berry picking is easier than you think! Let’s get started.


Wild Berries

Chokeberry trees have berries in black, purple, or red.


Also known as Aronia berries for their Aronia botanical name, chokeberry shrubs are ornamental and commonly planted in North America. There are three primary colors of chokeberries, all of which are edible. However, you may not put these berries high on your list of favorites, given their positively tart and puckering flavor!


Wild Berries

Chokecherry trees reach up to 30 feet tall.


Another commonly planted landscaping tree has to be the chokecherry. Often confused for chokeberries, chokecherries are distinguishable by their bright red coloration. However, note that chokecherries contain small levels of toxins when eaten in an unripe form, and their pits are toxic as well. This may be another technically edible option that isn’t anyone’s favorite, though there is chokecherry wine manufactured in the Midwest!

Wild Strawberries

Wild Berries

Most wild strawberry leaves have serrated edges.


Depending on where you live, wild strawberries are easier to find than you think! Just like their commercially grown counterparts, wild strawberries have a sweet taste and are a bright red when fully ripe. However, they are often smaller and the seeds are more pronounced compared to commercial cultivars or varieties.


Wild Berries

The orange or red color of salmonberries should help with proper identification.

©Randy Bjorklund/Shutterstock.com

Common in the Pacific Northwest and as far north as Alaska, salmonberries have a mellow flavor. You can find naturalized salmonberries in Europe as well as the west coast of North America, as they thrive in moist climates. While salmonberries aren’t as flavorful as blackberries or raspberries, they are still popular in pies, jams, and preserves, particularly in Oregon and Washington.


Wild Berries

A ripe thimbleberry will be extremely fragile and soft.

©Nikki Yancey/Shutterstock.com

Soft and rounded in a way other berries are not, thimbleberries are highly unique. Not only are their large leaves soft to the touch, but their berries taste particularly sweet and musky. Most thimbleberries can be found in full sunlight in mixed woods. You will have the best luck finding them along the west coast as well as around the Great Lakes.

Wild Raspberries

Wild Berries

The average wild raspberries look like commercially grown ones too.

©Amelia Martin/Shutterstock.com

Found around the world in disturbed areas and cultivated woodlands, wild raspberries aren’t too different from their commercially grown counterparts. These red berries thrive in full sunlight and are hardy down to Zone 4, making them easy to find in a variety of locations. The softer they are, the sweeter these berries will taste!


Wild Berries

The blueberry and the huckleberry are closely related.

©Nature’s Charm/Shutterstock.com

Prized in North American wildernesses, particularly the Pacific Northwest, huckleberries are similar in flavor and appearance to blueberries. These two berries are technically related, but huckleberries have a more pronounced flavor and a firmer texture compared to blueberries. If you happen upon these delicious berries in the wild, try a couple of different bushes, as they tend to range in tartness from plant to plant!

Saskatoon Berries

Wild Berries

Native to North America, Saskatoon berries are also known as serviceberries.

©Oksana Alekseeva/Shutterstock.com

Prevalent in Canada, Washington, Oregon, and parts of the central US, the Saskatoon berry is uniquely nutty. It can be tricky to identify, given the simplicity of its leaves and the notion that these wild berries look like many others. However, it is a common enough shrub in North America, also known as the serviceberry for its many uses, particularly in indigenous cultures.

Wild Blackberries

Wild Berries

You can easily find wild blackberries growing in disturbed areas of the Pacific Northwest.


One of the most common types of wild berries you are likely to find is the blackberry. With thorny brambles that spread without much thought, wild blackberries can be difficult to control. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you should have no trouble finding wild blackberries, especially once they start ripening in May and June!


Wild Berries

The shape of the average mulberry is uniquely long.


Ripe during the peak of summer, you can find mulberries throughout North America. These berries also come in different colors depending on the plant species and the ripening time, ranging from deep purple to whiteish pink. You know when a mulberry tree is ripe if you shake its branches: the berries should fall to the ground, giving you no need to pluck them from their place!


Wild Berries

The leaves of the bearberry plant are historically medicinal.

©Nata Naumovec/Shutterstock.com

Also known as Kinnikinnick, bearberries are found in North America, Asia, and parts of Europe. These bright red berries are frequently misidentified, so use extra caution before consuming. Should you choose to eat these berries, they won’t have the strongest flavor. However, these plants are extremely versatile, thriving in many locations and temperatures, giving you plenty of foraging opportunities!


Wild Berries

Elderberry shrubs are extremely hardy and thrive in a variety of climates.


Native to the eastern United States, elderberries need to be cooked before being consumed. However, they have a juicy flavor and a striking purple color that makes for a festive pie or jam at any table. In addition, elderflowers are delicious when eaten raw or as a tea, or perhaps consider making an elderflower simple syrup for your cocktails.


Wild Berries

The vertical way that cloudberries grow leads to their lofted namesake.


Also known as the bakeapple or the Alaskan raspberry, cloudberries have a delicious flavor. Prized in Russian and Scandinavian cuisines, cloudberries thrive in colder environments. They grow in a unique way as well, typically in a singular fashion and upright, along low-growing vines. Cloudberry preserves are a must-try if you’re able to get your hands on some!

Summary of Edible Wild Berries You Can Safely Eat

NumberEdible Wild BerryCommonly Found
1ChokeberriesEastern North America
2ChokecherriesFound in all but 6 of the 50 states
3Wild StrawberriesAll U. S., except Hawaii, and Canada
4Salmon BerriesPacific Northwest and Alaska
5ThimbleberriesWest Coast and the Great Lakes
6RaspberriesNorth America
7HuckleberriesPacific Northwest
8Saskatoon BerriesCanada, Washington, Oregon, and parts of the central US
9Wild BlackberriesPacific Northwest
11BearberriesNorth America, Asia, and parts of Europe
12ElderberriesEastern United States
13CloudberriesScandinavia, Siberia/Russia, Canada, and the U.S. (Alaska and New Hampshire
Summary of Edible Wild Berries You Can Safely Eat

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Zboratskaya_foto/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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  1. Processed elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) products: A beneficial or harmful food alternative?, Available here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002364381630247X