75 Favorite Fruits


Black raspberry, one of the Rubus species, the top wildlife fruit!

The list below ranks in order the top 75 favorite wildlife preferred berries and fruits.

The ranking is determined using two criteria to describe the role of the plant food in animals’ diets:

1) the number of species that utilizes the food,

2) how significant the food is within an individual species overall diet

So while a food may not be popular across a large number of species, it still could be strongly preferred by a few species. By coordinating with a rehabber’s specific needs, a forager can decide which plants to best target for collection.

Be sure to check any item listed below  in the database to see if there are any toxicological warnings associated with that plant or part of the plant.

1 blackberry Rubus spp.
2 cherry, wild Prunus spp.
3 dogwood Cornus spp.
4 elderberry Sambucus spp.
5 blueberry Vaccinium spp.
6 grape Vitis spp.
7 mulberry Morus spp.
8 sumac Rhus spp.
9 pokeweed Phytolacca americana
10 serviceberry Amelanchier spp.
11 Virginia creeper Parthenocissus spp.
12 juniper Juniperus spp.
13 poison ivy, eastern Toxicodendron radicans
14 crabapple/ apple Malus spp.
15 bayberry Morella spp.
16 gum Nyssa spp.
17 gum, black (black tupelo) Nyssa sylvatica
18 olives Elaeagnus spp.
19 redcedar, eastern Juniperus virginiana
20 holly Ilex spp.
21 viburnum Viburnum spp.
22 strawberry Fragaria spp.
23 greenbrier Smilax spp.
24 rose Rosa spp.
25 honeysuckle, bush Lonicera spp.
26 huckleberry Gaylussacia spp.
27 olive, autumn Elaeagnus umbellata
28 nightshade Solanum spp.
29 dogwood, flowering Cornus florida
30 sassafras Sassafras albidum
31 mountain ash Sorbus spp.
32 hawthorn Crataegus spp.
33 lingonberry Vaccinium vitis-idaea
34 hackberry Celtis spp.
35 persimmon, common Diospyros virginiana
36 winterberry, common Ilex verticillata
37 mulberry, red Morus rubra
38 bunchberry Cornus canadensis
39 elderberry, American black Samucus nigra
40 rose, multiflora Rosa multiflora
41 spicebush Lindera spp.
42 raspberry, red Rubus idaeus
43 honeysuckle, Japanese Lonicera japonica
44 blueberry, lowbush Vaccinium angustifolium
45 currant Ribes spp.
46 snowberry Symphoricarpos spp.
47 blueberry, velvetleaf Vaccinium myrtilloides
48 firethorn Pyracantha spp.
49 barberry Berberis spp.
50 nightshade, climbing Solanum dulcamara
51 blackberry, Himalayan Rubus armeniacus
52 bittersweet Celastrus spp.
53 chokeberry Aronia spp.
54 honeysuckle, Amur Lonicera maackii
55 bayberry, northern Morella pensylvanica
56 blackberry, evergreen Rubus laciniatus
57 pear Pyrus spp.
58 buckthorn Rhamnus spp.
59 olive, russian Elaeagnus angustifolia
60 spikenard Aralia spp.
61 sumac, fragrant Rhus aromatica
62 privet Ligustrum spp.
63 baneberry, red Actaea rubra
64 hackberry, common Celtis occidentalis
65 mountain ash, American Sorbus americana
66 coralberry Symphoricarpos orbiculatus
67 bittersweet, Oriental Celatrus orbiculatus
68 cherry, black Prunus serotina
69 blueberry, highbush Vaccinium corymbosum
70 yew Taxus spp.
71 huckleberry, blue Gaylussacia frondosa
72 blueberry, Blue Ridge Vaccinium pallidum
73 grape, summer Vitis aestivalis
74 burning bush Euonymus alatus
75 plum, American Prunus americana

What Criteria is Used for the Ranking the Lists?

The main resources used to build this website usually rated foods in three levels of preference: high, middle and low. But, a plant may be high preference in Michigan but lower preference in Virginia. So the preference factor has some built in limitations. Still, it is factor #1 in the algorithm.

The second factor considered was how many species of animals ate the part of the plant in consideration. A seed that 29 species eats would outrank a seed that only 5 species eats.

From a foragers perspective, it would be ideal to collect the most highly preferable foods that feed the widest range of rehabilitation animals, right? Well maybe not.

Consider if a rehabilitator only works with foxes. To research which foods would be most beneficial in the “fox only” scenario, the only consideration that she would care about is the most preferred food for foxes, not how many other species ate it.

So the ranking lists are the most general broad interpretation of the data. You will want to generate your own lists from the search feature to find out just what you want to target for collection.

References Used with Permission:

The Fire Effects Information System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).

Fire Effects Information System (2017) Plant species ecology literature reviews. Retrieved various dates from https://www.feis-crs.org/feis/

Martin, A.C., Zim, H.S., Nelson, A.L. (1951). American Wildlife and Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. New York: Dover Publications.

Scott, M. (2013). Songbird Diet Index. National  Wildlife  Rehabilitators  Association, St. Cloud, MN.