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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.

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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

 

 

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