En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Thursday - July 19, 2007

From: Columbia, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Toxicity of leaves and berries of lantana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants!!! I live in Columbia, SC and have fallen in love with the Lantana or Lanta plants. I have a lot of them because of their rapid growth. My question is -- in addition to all the beautiful flowers and hummingbirds they attract, the bushes are producing berries -- a dark blue purple. Are these safe to eat? Thank you

ANSWER:

Lantana camara (lantana) is on several poisonous plants databases: the Poisonous Plants Informational Database from Cornell University, Poisonous Plants of North Carolina from North Carolina State University, the Texas Toxic Plants database from Texas Cooperative Extension Service and Texas A&M, the Plants Toxic to Animals database from the University of Illinois Veterinary Medicine Library, and the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System. Most of these databases deal with the agricultural aspects of plant toxicity, but all agree that the leaves and green berries are toxic to livestock and are dangerous to humans as well. It seems to be the green berries that are potentially the most toxic for humans since most people wouldn't consider eating the leaves. The Cornell University site has an account of South African children eating ripe berries with apparently no ill effects, but Mr. Smarty Plants certainly wouldn't experiment with those ripe berries to see if they were OK to eat! Apparently, birds are unaffected by the triterpenoids that affect large mammals since birds are the major dispersal agents of Lantana sp. seeds.

They are beautiful plants and the hummingbirds and butterflies love them. Enjoy them—just don't eat the berries!


Lantana camara

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Is horseherb (Calyptocarpus vialis) edible?
April 09, 2008 - Hello, I find horse-herb everywhere. Is it edible, too? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 04, 2012 - We found a bush on our ranch in southern Gonzales County. It has oval shaped leaves about an inch long. There are no thorns on the branches. Fruit is round and smooth, the size of a small cherry to...
view the full question and answer

Information about Citrus mitis
June 26, 2008 - I was given a Citrus Mitis plant. It has beautiful white flowers and delicious looking tiny oranges.everyone in my office is asking if they're edible?
view the full question and answer

Rust on Blackberry
April 17, 2015 - I have two new blackberry bushes that I planted fall 2014. Only weeks after I planted the plant began to have rust color balls under the leaves then leaves began to die and fall off. When I returned t...
view the full question and answer

Fruiting times of native trees and shrubs in the Pacific Norhwest
December 30, 2013 - I am looking for information on fruiting/seeds/nuts times of native trees and shrubs in the Pacific Northwest. Obviously they fruit after they bloom but all I can find is very general information such...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center