Apple, banana, grape – everyone probably knows these classics. We provide variety and introduce you to ten unknown and exotic fruit varieties.
Fruit trees in the garden are something wonderful: in the spring they bear beautiful flowers, which makes them the most bee-friendly plants of all, and in the summer they provide shade and (unlike other garden plants) need little attention.
But arguably the best part is the sweet and healthy fruit that hangs from their branches year after year, providing us with essential vitamins. However, if you look in the gardens and on the plates, you always encounter the same types of fruit. Besides apple (Malus), pear (Pyrus) there are many other fruits that have a great taste. We have selected ten rare fruit varieties for you, which unjustly lead to a shadowy existence.
Are you looking for a type of fruit that not everyone has? These ten unknown fruit varieties are definitely worth a look.
10. Strawberry Tree
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A tree that grows strawberries (Fragaria)? Unfortunately, no. Even if the name strawberry tree (Arbutus) suggests otherwise, the small red fruits of this tree are not strawberries, even if they look confusingly similar to them. One look at the bright orange interior makes any doubts fade. In terms of taste, the fruits of the strawberry tree do not convince everyone, as they are rather tasteless.
On the other hand, the tree is an excellent eye-catcher in the garden: its dense foliage, the attractive bell-shaped flowers it bears in winter, and its peeling bark make it a real eye-catcher. And the red fruits also provide bright splashes of color in the garden. In mild viticultural climates, the strawberry tree can be planted in the garden, otherwise, it is great to cultivate in the container.
The chokeberry, also known by its Latin name Aronia, has recently become one of the insider tips when it comes to healthy eating and is therefore very much in vogue. Especially its high content of vitamin C and antioxidants ensures that the chokeberry has become a true fashion fruit. But what few people know: The vitamin bomb can also be grown in your own garden without any problems. The fruit tree grows to a height of only about two and a half meters, making it suitable for smaller gardens. At the same time, the chokeberry is particularly robust and winter-hardy and, with its white blossoms, is also a real ornament in spring.
8. Caramel Berry
Sweets growing on trees are probably the dream of every child – with the caramel berry (Leycesteria formosa) this fantasy almost becomes reality: From June to September the colorful, spike-shaped flowers of the plant shine and let an enchanting scent of caramel waft through the garden. The shrub’s impressive fall coloration is also truly impressive. During the year, the impressive individual flowers form red berries that turn almost black at the end of ripening and are characterized by a bitter, caramel-like taste. In the garden, the caramel berry proves to be extremely easy to care for but needs additional frost protection in winter.
7. Rock Pear
Rock pear (Amelanchier) is actually found in relatively many gardens, as it is an almost unique ornamental tree with its numerous flowers in spring and spectacular fall color. But the fruits of the rock pear, on the other hand, often go unnoticed by humans and fall mainly to winged gourmets – a shame, considering that the blue-black, small balls are real delicacies. Sweet and aromatic, their flavor is reminiscent of blueberries, which makes them perfect for jams and jellies – but they can also be snacked on raw or made into wine.
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6. Cornelian Cherry
Already with the old Greeks, it was well-known and also in American gladly cultivated – with the time the Kornelkirsche (Cornus mas) fell however slowly into oblivion. Unjustly, because the dogwood plant (Cornaceae) has a lot to offer: With its fragile blossom decoration, consisting of thousands and thousands of tiny cyme flowers, the cornelian cherry is a true beauty. But also its shiny red to almost blackberries with their tart taste is a real treat and highly aromatic both raw and processed into jam. In addition, the cornelian cherry is extremely robust: on almost any site and even during dry periods, the fruit tree thrives without any problems.
5. Indian Banana
As unusual as the name of the Indian banana (Asimina triloba) is, which is incidentally called pawpaw in its North American homeland, it can also be misleading: In fact, the exotic fruit tree belongs to the genus of the cream apple family (Annonaceae) and is thus neither related to the banana (Musa) nor does it look particularly similar to it. In fact, the elongated fruit with smooth, greenish-yellow skin is probably best compared to papaya (Carica papaya). Behind the skin lies the yellow, creamy flesh, which combines the tropical taste of mango (Mangifera indica), banana, and melon (Cucumis melo) and can be easily spooned out. But the taste of this exotic can be experienced not only in the tropics – with winter hardiness to -77 °F and robust nature, the Indian banana is also suitable for the home garden.
4. Ornamental Quince
Because it has the word “ornamental” in its name, many think that the ornamental quince (Chaenomeles) is not meant for eating. But in fact, the yellow fruits are far too delicious and healthy just to be looked at. Popularly, the fruits of the ornamental quince are also known as “northern lemons” because of their color, tart flavor, and high vitamin C content. In addition to its delicious fruit, the beautiful fruit shrub is particularly captivating with its unique flowers: from white to vermilion or even scarlet, these exotic beauties shine from afar in spring and are an absolute eye-catcher.
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Originally from Asia, the Romans once brought the medlar (Mespilus) to Europe, where it gained great popularity. Today, however, the exotic tree is found only sporadically in cottage gardens – although the medlar has so much to offer: In spring, the tree awaits with radiantly beautiful blossoms that are especially popular with bees, but also immediately captivate people. In autumn, on the other hand, the medlar captivates with a great leaf coloring in bright orange-yellow. The highlight, however, is its apple-shaped fruits with the distinctive, gaping tip. Although they are quite hard at first, they take on a mushy consistency after a short period of storage or the first frost and then develop their full sweet and sour aroma. With its slow growth, the medlar is also very suitable for small gardens and is sufficiently hardy, although it does not mind a warm place.
2. Blue Cucumber
The name says it all: the fruits of the exotic blue cucumber tree (Decaisnea fargesii) consist of elongated pods up to 8 inches long, which directly catch the eye with their striking coloration. The intense blue fruits provide an impressive highlight, especially in autumn after the leaves have fallen, which is why the blue cucumber tree is also popular as an ornamental shrub. But the blue pods can also convince in terms of taste – the gelatinous interior has a slightly sweet taste and is particularly popular in western China. With its pinnate leaves and hanging panicles up to 20 inches long, however, the blue cucumber tree is also a great sight in itself and can also be grown in the USA thanks to its winter hardiness.
In the USA, the jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) is a true rarity, but in its homeland in China, the fruit is as popular as apples are here. No wonder, considering that its taste is said to be strongly reminiscent of baked apples, with mild sweetness and a slight hint of acidity. The jujube, which is also called Chinese date or chest berry, convinces not only with its taste. Its leaflets shine with a golden yellow color in autumn and the numerous small flowers exude a pleasantly subtle scent. In addition, the jujube is extremely healthy with its high vitamin C content. Even in the garden, the rare exotic cuts a good figure: it is frost-hardy to -68 °C and is also ideal for keeping in tubs.
Not only among fruit trees are there numerous rare and unknown varieties – here you will find 9 berries that you have probably never heard of.