Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Identify Red Berries on a Vine

red berries image by Cliff Lloyd from

Several types of common red berries can be found at the grocery store. Among them are raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and currants. But when it comes to identifying red berries on a vine, it is very important to determine if they are like the edible ones in the grocery store or if they are poisonous. There are some key things to keep in mind when you are identifying red berries on the vine, and having a regional guidebook on hand is beneficial.

Look for red berries on vines during peak ripening times, usually from late summer to fall, or in the spring. Note the shade of the berry, such as almost translucent (a gooseberry) to very dark red (a raspberry).

cranberries image by Patrick Moyer from

Look at the size and texture of the berry. Raspberries have many small round drupelets, while cranberries are smooth and perfectly round. Strawberries are heart-shaped, while gooseberries are more oval.

strawberry flowers image by Alexander Kosenkov from

Look for any flowers on the vine. Although you may be able to identify the berry, having the shape or color of the flower provides extra confidence about the variety. Note if the flower color is white or pinkish and if it is a bell or common five-petal shape.

Wild Raspberries image by David Bayer from

Look at the leaves and vine of the plant. When there is no berry or flower, the leaves are the next best way to identify the red berry could be growing on it in the future. Usually runners and slightly hairy leaves will be on berry vines, and the undersides of the leaves will be textured, like strawberries.

Consult the regional guidebook of your area for red berry vines, which usually come with photographs of the plants, flowers or berries. Having a guidebook to confirm your guess at a berry is ideal, especially if you plan to eat the fruit.

Take a photograph of the berry or plant if you are unsure of what red berry vine it is. Show an expert.


Do not eat a berry unless you are 100 percent positive of its identity.

Garden Guides