|Small tree that grows 20’ to 30’. Heart-shaped leaves turn yellow in the fall. Pink blooms in early to mid-spring. Yields 3” green legume-like seed pods that later turn a brownish-black color.
Collect Redbud seeds in fall when pods turn brown. Redbud seed pods can often become dried and shriveled. Examine the pods before collecting: do they feel overly dry or thin? If you can’t feel the individual seeds within the pod, do not collect seed from that tree.
|Small tree that grows up to 25’. Dark green oval/ovate leaves are 4-8” long and turn red/purple in fall. Blooms white in April-May. Yields bunches of ¼” glossy red fruit in late summer/fall.
Collect Flowering Dogwood fruit in the fall, once the fruit skin is red and it begins to soften. These fruits are often eaten by birds and other wildlife.
|Large tree that grows up to 70’. Dark green alternately arranged leaves are 4-6” long and turn orange/yellow in fall. Yields dark brown, long oval acorns 1-1.5” long with a thin cap covering less than 1/3” of the nut. Caps separate from the nut when mature.
|Collect Chestnut Oaks in early fall, preferably within 3 days of falling from the tree. If fallen acorns sit on the ground for too long, they can spoil or attract pests like acorn weevils. Use the “Float Test” to weed out spoiled acorns after you’ve collected them.
|Large tree that grows up to 100’. Alternate simple leaves are oblong to ovate in shape, 4-7” long, and have 7-10 rounded lobes. Yields ovoid to oblong acorns with a warty bowl-shaped cap that covers ¼ of the nut. The cap detaches from the nut when mature.
|Collect White Oak acorns in early fall when they are green or just turning brown, since this species germinates almost immediately. At this stage, it should be difficult to remove their caps. If fallen acorns sit on the ground for too long, they can spoil or attract pests like acorn weevils. Use the “Float Test” to weed out spoiled acorns after you’ve collected them.
|Southern Red Oak;
|Large tree that grows up to 80’. Most leaves have 3-5 lobes, can resemble a turkey foot. Acorns are small, with cap covering 1/3 to 1/2 of nut. Nut surface is wrinkled. Bark of mature trees is scaly, darker in color, with vertical ridges broken by horizontal cracks often.
|Collect Southern Red Oak acorns in early fall. This species can often be a prolific producer of oak tree seed aka acorns. If fallen acorns sit on the ground for too long, they can spoil or attract pests like acorn weevils. Use the “Float Test” to weed out spoiled acorns after you’ve collected them.
|Wild American Plum;
|Small shrub-like tree grows up to 30’. Green leaves are paler on the underside, are 3-4” long, are alternately arranged simple ovate/elliptical with finely serrated edges and a pointed tip. Produces clusters of white flowers in early spring. Yields fleshy drupe fruit that is round, 1” across, yellow-brown to reddish-purple. Fruit ripens in late summer.
Collect Wild American Plum fruits in late summer to late fall. Collect fallen fruit, or fruit still attached to the tree. Rotting fruit is ok to collect. Do not collect seed that is exposed, because it could be too dried out. Be cautious of fruit on the ground, as it can attract insects like wasps.
|Small slender tree that grows up to 40’ tall. Simple green leaves are alternately arranged, are ovate to oblong, and are 5-11” long and 2-3” wide. Leaves have a pepper-like odor when crushed. Produces large fleshy green-yellow fruit that grows in bunches of 2-5. Fruit is 2 ½-4” long, has a tropical scent and banana-like texture with several large kidneybean shaped seeds on the inside. Fruit ripens in late summer.
Collect Paw Paw fruit from late summer to fall, but timing can vary. Collect fallen fruit from the ground or give trees a gentle shake to release still attached fruit. Be cautious of fruit on the ground, as it can attract insects like wasps.
|Dark green oppositely arranged pinnately compound leaves are 6-11” long with 5-11 elliptical leaflets. Leaflets have serrated edges and acuminate tips. Bottom leaflets are often 3-lobed. Produces bundles of small white flowers in summer. Yields clusters of small ¼” berry-like drupe fruits that mature in late summer. Fruit is a dark purple-like color.
Collect elderberries in mid to late summer, but timing can vary. Collect fruit by the cluster, you can use pruners and cut at the nearest node. Or roll fingers over berry clusters while holding bag underneath.