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?

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
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

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

Evergreen pet-safe shrubs for house and screening in McKinney TX
April 15, 2010 - Looking for shrub, preferably evergreen, to plant near the house that can handle wet ground and is pet (dog, cat, horse) safe. The area became boggy after we had an underground water leak that is now ...
view the full question and answer

Controlling Cnidoscolus texanus (Texas bullnettle)
July 18, 2013 - Hello,I need your help to control some nasty weeds in my yard/pasture. I am an old timer and do not have a picture to include—haven't figured out that part of the camera/phone yet. This weed is a pri...
view the full question and answer

Horses exposed to toxic plants in Charles Town WV
July 13, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I have a big problem on my hands! Four of my horses have gotten into something toxic, but I must find out what. I found an unusual plant that a mare chased her foal away from. It's ...
view the full question and answer

Lupinus perennis Poisonous to Dogs?
April 14, 2013 - I have heard that some lupine varieties are quite poisonous to dogs, others are not. Do you know if it's safe for my dogs if I plant and encourage Lupinus perennis in my NH meadow?
view the full question and answer

Poison ivy? vine in NJ
July 30, 2012 - I have a vine growing among some vegetation in my backyard. It has a leaf with 3 "points" with ridges along its edges. The smaller leaves are reddish which is why I thought poison ivy but definite...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center