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
1 rating

Thursday - June 25, 2009

From: Angola, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Poisonous cherries from trees in Angola, IN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Are there any poisonous cherries from trees in Indiana?

ANSWER:

There are six members of the genus Prunus native to Indiana that have "cherry" in their common names:

Prunus pensylvanica (pin cherry)

Prunus pensylvanica var. pensylvanica (pin cherry)

Prunus serotina var. serotina (black cherry)

Prunus serotina (black cherry)

Prunus virginiana (chokecherry)

Prunus virginiana var. virginiana (chokecherry)

All members of the Prunus genus, which includes peaches, pears, almonds, plums, cherries and chokecherries, have the same characteristics of having toxic parts.  All members of the genus bear the same warning about the ingestion of leaves, twigs or seeds of fruit. These parts of the plants contain cyanogenic glycoside or cyanogens that are highly toxic and may be fatal if eaten. Cyanogenic glycosides are changed into free cyanide either in plant material that has been damaged or in the gastrointestinal tracts of animals. It is most severe in ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, deer) but is also very dangerous for animals with single stomachs (e.g., dogs, cats, horses, pigs). If you wish to treat the cherries as edible plants, you must be very careful about not letting the seeds be available for consumption, and keeping wilted leaves, twigs, etc. out of the reach of animals or children. 

The cherries that you would ordinarily purchase in cans for cooking are non-native to North America. The Prunus avium, or sweet cherry, and the Prunus cerasus, sour cherry, both from Asia and Europe, still share the same toxicity as other members of the genus. 

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Juniperus Toxic to Pets?
October 15, 2013 - Are blue rug juniper plants toxic to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Searching for poisonous plants from Kansas City
November 13, 2010 - Looking on how to acquire wourali vine, upas, or arrow poison wood.
view the full question and answer

Shrub to scrren house from dust from gravel road
July 28, 2013 - HI: We live in the foothills of Dobbins, California (2 hours North of Sacramento, Ca). I live on a gravel dirt road with traffic that goes about 45 miles an hour. When they drive by our house it lo...
view the full question and answer

Is Poison ivy always rooted in the ground?
November 11, 2015 - Does Poison ivy on a tree always start at the ground and climb up the tree or can it start producing its vine and leaves by itself at the top of the tree or middle?
view the full question and answer

Is Texas mountain laurel honey toxic?
May 25, 2015 - I have been told that honey produced from the flowers of my Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) would not be safe to consume. Is this correct? The only information I have been able to find is...
view the full question and answer

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