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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - July 02, 2008

From: White House, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Recipe for cherry jelly from wild black cherry tree in Tennessee
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I think that we have a wild black cherry tree on our farm. I understand that the fruit is edible. Do you have a recipe for jelly or any other food product using this fruit?


Um, we think you've reached the wrong number. This is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, dedicated to the protection and propagation of plants native to North America. Not Betty Crocker. However, just for the heck of it, we Googled for a recipe for cherry jelly, and got this one from RecipeZaar.

Now, more to the point-before you eat anything off any plant growing in the wild, make absolutely sure that it is what you think it is, and safe to eat. We found two "black cherries" that grow naturally in Tennessee, the Prunus serotina (black cherry) and the Prunus serotina var. serotina (black cherry).

Prunus serotina (black cherry) - take a look at this page of Images of this plant and this Floridata website on Prunus serotina.

Prunus serotina var. serotina (black cherry) - pictures of this one, and, the only site we could find on this specific sub-species, the USDA Plant guide.

Finally, humor us, we don't like to have customers poisoned. Go to the website for the University of Tennessee Extension program, Robertson County and contact someone there about identifying your tree. Who knows? Maybe they'll have a recipe for cherry jelly.


More Edible Plants Questions

Planting native blueberry bushes in Tennessee
July 07, 2008 - I have long wished to have wild blueberry bushes at my home. They are native to mountainous regions of my state, but I don't know whether or not it is reasonable to expect to be able to grow them wh...
view the full question and answer

Are palm tree leaves poisonous?
May 03, 2010 - Hello, I am doing a "Menu" on Hawaii and I was wondering if palm tree leaves are edible. I have to make menu items and i was thinking palm tree leaves could be included.. If you know please answer!...
view the full question and answer

Wild onions in southwest Michigan
June 06, 2007 - During the spring every year there are "Volunteer Onions" that grow in my lawn and garden. I live in Michigan, sw. question---are these onions? what are they--they smell like onions--- can they be e...
view the full question and answer

Blossom end rot on non-native tomatoes from Newport RI
April 25, 2014 - Can epsom salt or eggshells end blossom end rot on tomatoes?
view the full question and answer

Patience pays off with chile pequin in Austin
September 24, 2011 - Hello. Re my June 08, 2011 message -- Guess what! The chile pequin is finally flowering and setting fruit in its container on my apartment patio. You said patience, you were right, and hooray once aga...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center