Explore Plants

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
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
2 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!

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Making Tea from Croton monanthogynus
August 13, 2013 - Do you have any other information on the value of croton monanthogynus as a tea? Nutritive value? Possible adverse reactions?
view the full question and answer

Fiber and dye plants at the Wildflower Center from Round Rock TX
May 24, 2012 - When I visited the Wildflower Center recently I noticed a garden labeled as containing fiber and dye plants, but the individual plants and their uses were not all labeled. I would be very interested ...
view the full question and answer

Wine from Ampelopsis arborea?
September 06, 2006 - Hello, can you eat or make wine from the fruit of Ampelopsis arborea? I have found a few vines that are very fruitful and are ready to pick!
view the full question and answer

Are there edible nettles native to the Austin, TX area?
September 13, 2011 - Are there any nettles native to this area? I would like to cook with them (if there is a good substitute, please advise). Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Can poisonous seed of wild plum be safely removed after steaming from Seymour IA
June 20, 2013 - I read on a related questions that you said the pit/seeds of all wild plums are poisonous. My question is this, can I juice the entire fruit for making jelly without removing the pit first? I have a s...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.