adventurous fruits

Expand your horizons and knowledge of edible plants! Swanson's Nursery is pleased to offer an exciting selection of unique and adventurous small fruits. In addition to providing tasty fruits and berries that you may not find at your local supermarket, these small trees, shrubs and vines make a valuable and attractive contribution to the urban landscape. Growing requirements may vary: be sure to read the basic cultural conditions on individual tags or signs or consult one of Swanson's knowledgeable nursery professionals.

CHOKEBERRY Aronia melanocarpa 

This small deciduous shrub has a lot to offer: white flowers in Spring, striking red fall color, wildlife attraction and heavy clusters of round, blueberry-sized fruit in August. The fruit is delicious fresh when fully ripe and makes wonderful juices, jellies and wine. An extremely good source of Vitamin C.

CHOCOLATE VINE Akebia quinata

A fast growing evergreen vine that produces fragrant May flowers and tolerates shade—what more could you ask? Commonly called Chocolate Vine because of the dusky purple flower color and not the taste, Akebias produce bizarre looking 5" long pink or pale blue skinned fruit. The pulp is used to make a tropical flavored drink. Two varieties required for successful fruiting.


Not a true cherry but a species of Dogwood. Frost hardy yellow flowers appear in February and are followed later in the season by large, fire engine red fruit. The fruit has a taste similar to a tart cherry and is good for jams and jellies. Improved pollination and fruiting requires a neighboring Dogwood.

CRANBERRY Vaccinium macrocarpon

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not require a bog or wetland for successful culture, but are happy in most Northwest soils. Plant as you would a blueberry, with additions of acidic organic matter and regular water.

CURRANT Ribes spp.

Not well known in this country, currants are attractive small shrubs and producers of delicious and nutritious berries - black currants contain 5 times (by weight) the Vitamin C content of oranges! A little tart for American tastes when eaten fresh, they are excellent for use making jams, syrups and when dried.

ELDERBERRY Sambucus caerulea

One of our most attractive Northwest natives, Blue Elderberry is covered in white flowers in Spring, followed by heavy clusters of sweet blue berries dusted with a white bloom in early Fall. This is an easy to grow shrub— sun-loving and large (15–20 feet) Fruit is used in pies, jellies, tea and of course, Elderberry wine.

FIG Ficus carica

With their tropical looking foliage, figs are a wonderful garden ornamental as well as producing delicious, juicy fruits. Surprisingly hardy in our mild Northwest climate, they are self-fertile and some varieties will produce two crops a year, in July and September. Site in a warm location with a southern exposure for best ripening.

FRUITING QUINCE Cydonia oblonga

A unique and exotic small ornamental tree, Quince produces large white flowers in late spring, followed by large, waxy and fragrant yellow fruit that ripens in October. With a pineapple-like flavor, Quinces are prized for cooking, jellies and adding to apple cider. Self-fertile.

HIGHBUSH CRANBERRY Viburnum opulus, V. trilobum

Long an ornamental staple of American landscapes for its showy white flowers and beautiful Fall colors, the Highbush Cranberry is valued in Europe for its glowing bright red fruit in late Summer. Use for preserves, syrups or wine - if the birds don't get it first! A great addition to the natural woodland garden.

HONEYBERRY Lonicera kamtschatica

A member of the Honeysuckle family native to Siberia, this very hardy deciduous small shrub is virtually unknown in American gardens. Small white, slightly fragrant flowers appear in March, followed small, long berries with the color and taste of blueberries. Fruit ripens very early - at least two weeks before strawberries. Very easy to grow with no pest or disease problems.

MAGNOLIA VINE Schizandra chinensis

Native to the forests of northern China, this hardy deciduous vine bears clusters of lightly fragrant, magnolia-like flowers. The snow white flowers are followed by striking crimson berries with a tart taste and distinctive aroma. The plant and its fruit are high in Vitamin C, essential oils and shizandrin, a stimulating and healthful compound. The sweetened fruit is used to make juices and preserves and the dried leaves and roots make a refreshing tea.

PINEAPPLE GUAVA Feijoa sellowiana

An outstanding and hardy ornamental shrub with dark green evergreen foliage and striking red and pink flowers in early Summer. Produces delicious guava-like fruit in late Fall. Grows well in most soils and is disease and pest resistant. Plant two for best fruit production.

SEABERRY Hippophae rhamnoides

Also known as Sea Buckthorn, Seaberry is widely grown throughout the world, yet most American gardeners have never heard of it! A very ornamental shrub with its narrow and graceful silvery-green foliage, it bears heavy crops of bright orange berries that are prized by florists for their ornamental value. An excellent source of Vitamins C, A & E, the sweetened berries make a delicious juice with an orange/passionfuit flavor. Also used to make sauces and jellies and as a base for liqueurs. A very tough and hardy plant, it is easy to grow, tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and is disease resistant.

STRAWBERRY VINE Schizandra rubrifolia

A close relative to the Magnolia Vine (Schizandra chinensis), this rare and unique vine is spectacular in bloom. Striking, bright red strawberry-like flowers in May are followed by abundant, edible scarlet berries in fall. The Chinese name for Schizandra means "five-flavor berry" because it possesses the five basic flavors—salty, sweet, sour, pungent, and bitter. It has long been recognized for its herbal and medicinal properties, including use as a cough suppressant and to relieve digestive disorders.