Rhus integrifolia (Lemonade Berry) is a large shrub native to Southern California, usually growing to a height of 5 to 10 feet but potentially reaching 20 feet in the right conditions. Primarily tolerant of semi-shade, it is also able to withstand more sunny conditions as well as dry conditions. Its fragrant pink flowers are both beautiful and functional, as they are edible and can be used as a spice or herb. Mature plants are salt tolerant and well suited to a seaside environment.
The berries of the lemonade berry are the most famous part of the plant, ripening from green to yellow, then red and covered in a sticky substance. A single mature lemonade berry can bear up to 200 berries, with an impressive potential yield of up to one thousand berries from one plant. In addition to their use as a flavoring for beverages, the berries are full of healthy benefits including vitamins A and C, folates, and proteins.
For best results, plant lemonade berry in USDA Zones 8-10 and provide moderate water for the bush to flourish. As with many plants, grow in a pot if you live in a cold region and plan to bring your plants indoors during the colder months. With adequate planting, watering and sunlight, Rhus integrifolia makes a great addition to any garden!