Reprinted with permission from Wisconsin Pollinators
Wisconsin has a diverse native flora that includes wild fruit trees native to the state. Choosing varieties that grow naturally within the state for home gardens and landscapes ensures the trees will grow and flourish. Given the diversity of fruiting trees available, it isn't hard to choose one or several for landscaping, collecting fruit or the beauty of spring blossoms.
Restoring native plant habitat is vital to preserving biodiversity. By creating a native plant garden, each patch of habitat becomes part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape for birds and other animals.
Native plants are those that occur naturally in a region in which they evolved. They are the ecological basis upon which life depends, including birds and people. Without them and the insects that co-evolved with them, local birds cannot survive.
Here are seven Wisconsin native fruit tress that not only support native pollinators but also provide edible fruit for you! Be sure to "Read More" and click on the tree name to get more details.
Photo credit: Sue Reinardy, UW Extension Master Gardener Volunteer
Photo credit: Sue Reinardy,
UW Extension, Master Gardener Volunteer
Whether they're on your cereal or in jams, jellies and pies, berries are a favorite sweet treat and there are species that are native to our area – providing a sustainable garden that also supports native pollinators.
The wild fruit of Wisconsin offers a variety of fresh and delicious flavors. They can be used alone or combined with other fruit for a unique twist in your favorite jam, sauce or baking recipes. Include these plants in your ‘edible forest’ or general landscape, and have a bounty that you can both enjoy and share with the birds, bees and butterflies that visit your garden.
Edible gardening generally brings to mind beds of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, and other foods with origins in distant continents. As natives of often vastly different climates and growing conditions, many of these plants require a lot of time and attention to bring to a successful harvest.
You may find many of the native plants described below already growing. In a rapidly destabilizing world and economy, it’s worth identifying them and protecting them (from the mower or deer that might devour them first, or from invasive plants that might crowd them out).
Many of the native plants mentioned here are still fairly common in the wild, although increasing development, the spread of exotic invasive plants, and expanding interest in wild foraging is putting real pressure on wild populations. Home cultivation of these native plants for edible usage is a sustainable way for property owners to increase their self-reliance, help maintain existing wild populations of valuable plants and the genetic resilience they hold, as well as support the vast array of wildlife that depend on the presence of native plants for their own survival.
Links for each berry shrub go to the Wisconsin Pollinators website.
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