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
2 ratings

Tuesday - August 18, 2009

From: Aurora, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Toxic effect of mulberry fruits and sap
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What would be the toxic effect of the unripe fruit of the mulberry tree or the white sap?

ANSWER:

The Poisonous Plants of North Carolina database lists both the North American native Morus rubra (red mulberry) and the introduced Morus alba (white mulberry) as mildly toxic.  The toxic parts are the unripe berries and the white sap from any part.  The symptoms are hallucinations and stomach upset.  This database says that it "causes only low toxicity if eaten". This is the only toxic plant database I could find, however, that listed it. 

Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest says that the pollen of these two trees causes hay fever.  She also says: 

"Unripe fruit and milky sap can cause gastrointestinal distress and some toxicity...The sap can cause a skin rash."

L. A. Peterson in A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Eastern and Central North America says about both species:

"Unripe fruit and raw shoots contain hallucinogens."


Morus rubra

Morus rubra

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Shrubs not toxic to cattle in NJ
December 09, 2013 - I am working to rejuvenate the hedgerows on a farm in New Jersey by removing invasive plants and planting native shrubs. How do I find out which native shrubs are toxic to cattle and should not be pl...
view the full question and answer

Fruit and nut trees safe for horses.
May 11, 2015 - My husband and I just moved to Elgin. We have always wanted to grow fruit/nut baring trees but didn't take in to consideration that horses might eat them. We have never had land or horses before, s...
view the full question and answer

Removing poison ivy around live oak in Hockley TX
July 02, 2009 - We have a large live oak in our backyard, estimated to be over 100 years old. I am working on clearing out the brush that is under the tree. Can I spray commercially available poison ivy killer in t...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Orange County, Florida
April 14, 2012 - I live in Central FL (Winter Park)and I have a small, mostly sunny (no trees) backyard next to a large in-ground swimming pool which fills up with the leaves of my neighbor's oak trees. The backyard ...
view the full question and answer

Indoor and Outdoor, Fast Growing Plants for California
October 22, 2015 - Iím looking for the best plants for me. I have small kids so they would have to be safe. I would like them to be able to grow inside or outside. I would love for them to grow fast and reproduce fast.
view the full question and answer

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