Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
17 ratings

Sunday - September 21, 2008

From: Silver Creek, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Are berries of American Beautyberry poisonous?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have an American Beautyberry Plant and I need to know if the purple berries are toxic - we have dogs and I wouldn't want them to eat them. Thanks for any information you may have on this plant.

ANSWER:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) doesn't appear in any of our favorite toxic plant databases:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Texas Toxic Plant Database

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants Database

Plus, none of the lists specific for dogs (Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and Doberdogs) that I found has it named.

Here is what Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest says, however, about eating American beautyberry:

"I have found several sources stating that the fruit is safe to eat, and several stating that it is inedible....I have talked to one woman who reported feeling slight nausea after eating beauty-berry jelly.  Personally, I discourage its use for food.  The raw fruit has an unpleasant flavor."

Since it isn't listed on any toxic database, I wouldn't think your dogs would be in any danger from eating a few berries.  They probably aren't something the dogs would like to eat anyway and you could always remove the majority of the berries from the bushes if they do seem to be interested in eating them.


Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

 

 

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

Help with control of small, invasive groundcover
April 16, 2012 - I have a very invasive ground cover creeping into my yard. I've tried to identify it and it's similar to creeping charlie or garlic mustard. Leaves are triangular with jagged edges, small purple f...
view the full question and answer

Possible non-native squash and gourd cross from Kyle TX
June 10, 2012 - Last year I gathered seeds from the yellow squash plants that were grown from a seed packet (hybrid, I assume). Well, now the fruit produced by those plants seems to be a cross between a yellow squash...
view the full question and answer

Information on edible tubers of hog potato from Austin
November 10, 2011 - I inquired a while back about hog potato or Hoffmannseggia glauca. You gave me some information on the plant but no information on when the plant produces the edible tubers. Also how long does it take...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant with bumpy red fruit
April 26, 2011 - I have a bush with red berry like pods on it. They are about 3/4 of an inch bumpy round with a big seed inside. The leaves are smooth and oval shape. Please let me know if it is poisonous or not, and...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.