En Español

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

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
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

Can a pecan tree be kept from producing for a season?
July 03, 2009 - Can a pecan tree be kept from producing for a season?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping in Bertram TX
September 25, 2009 - I have a landscaping job in Bertram, Texas and am looking for all my options as far as full and partial shade somewhat hardy plants. I'm mainly looking for small plants and pretty flowers I can do wi...
view the full question and answer

Junipers for restoring area in Bulverde TX
November 03, 2012 - Are ashe or virginiana junipers for sale around the hill country? I would like to recreate the natural plant life that was bulldozed next to my home. Do you recommend any other types of juniper that ...
view the full question and answer

Native trees for revegetation project
October 05, 2007 - We live in a MUD just outside of Round Rock Texas. There is a developer building apartments behind about 20 houses. Last year, we got the developer to agree to leave 20' of native vegetation in the e...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing tree for Houston
January 19, 2009 - Please suggest me fast growing tree like Eucalyptus for Zip 77099 to protect building with its shade. I understand Eucalyptus is not good for our area and is flammable. Any other with similar fast gro...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center