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
1 rating

Tuesday - June 02, 2009

From: Lake Worth, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Is black olive (Bucida buchera) toxic to people or dogs?
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We have what we think is a black olive tree growing in our front yard, which I keep trimmed to about 4 feet high. A bird dropped the seedling in my garden, so I'm not quite sure it's a black olive, but pretty sure when comparing the leaf with pictures. The tree is about 2 years old, and this year was the first year that it grew what look like blueberries, but smaller, about half the size of a blueberry. Wondering if these berries are edible or if they are poisonous to us or our dogs.


According to the USDA Plant Database Bucida buceras (Florida "Black Olive" or Gregorywood) is a native of Florida; but, according to some sources (Florida Keys Invasive Exotics Task Force, pp.51-52) it is an invasive exotic plant.  Here are more photos.  Several sources (including Florida Gardener.com) says that its fruits are not edible.  However, that does not mean that they are poisonous—its scientific name doesn't appear in any of the following toxic plant databases:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

Toxic Plants of Texas 

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Nor does its name appear in the ASPCA list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants for Dogs.



More Trees Questions

Bacterial wetwood disease in ash tree
November 11, 2004 - I have an Ash tree in my front yard. It's about 25 - 30 years old. About 2 months ago, it began to ooze sap from a point where a limb had been pruned, I'd say, about 15 - 20 years ago. So this cut ...
view the full question and answer

A privacy hedge for NJ
April 16, 2011 - My backyard faces a highway in New Jersey. 18 years ago White Pines were planted for privacy, but they have since grown and now there is no privacy at all as the tree trucks are rather bare. Is ther...
view the full question and answer

Care of lemon cypress from Winter Springs FL
April 14, 2011 - Please send me information on care of lemon cypress plant. I have one in small container on my patio. Should I take it in the house? Send any helpful information on its care. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Is Carolina laurel (Prunus caroliniana) a good choice for San Juan Islands, Washington?
November 03, 2007 - What are the prospects for Carolina laurel here on San Juan Island, mixed in with thin stand of douglas fir, about 50 feet from shore, eastern exposure? Water is available but little sun because of l...
view the full question and answer

City tree ordinance information
January 10, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am writing to you in regards to city tree ordinances. I am a citizen of Grand Prairie, TX. and although the city is a Tree City, the city does not have a tree ordinance. T...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center