En EspaŅol

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
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
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

Landscaping with water garden from Pendleton SC
August 15, 2012 - Searching for native plants in SC. Your results miss some plants listed on your site. I noticed this reading the Mr. Smarty Plants response to "Edible Plants for North GA" We aren't far apart. ...
view the full question and answer

Can bluebonnets be made into jelly from Ennis TX
May 07, 2013 - Are Texas bluebonnet flowers okay for human consumption? I have seen recipes for wild violet jelly,so was wondering about making bluebonnet jelly from the bluebonnet blossoms if they are not poisonous...
view the full question and answer

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

Edible native plants for Camp Wood, TX
November 01, 2012 - We live northwest of Camp Wood, TX in the uplands, so our soil is shallow with caliche and limestone beneath and is clay-like with the typical higher pH. Are there any native trees, bushes, vines, or...
view the full question and answer

Is cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) edible?
December 21, 2012 - I found a post here about cenizo leaves being used for tea, but I'm wondering if the leaves of the cenizo are edible? I have found many recipes for 'brown butter sage' leaves (sauteed often with on...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center