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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 03, 2010

From: Funville, HI
Region: Hawaii
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Are palm tree leaves poisonous?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I am doing a "Menu" on Hawaii and I was wondering if palm tree leaves are edible. I have to make menu items and i was thinking palm tree leaves could be included.. If you know please answer! Thanks!

ANSWER:

We think you may be having a little fun with us, because there is no such place, apparently, as "Funville, HI."

There are approximately 202 genera and 2200 species of palm trees, so there is no telling what palm you are speaking of. As they are mostly tropical plants, very few are native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center only has plants native to North America (excluding Mexico) in our Native Plant Database; one of which is  Washingtonia filifera (California fan palm), native to California. A number of palms have fruits, such as the Coconut Palm, which yield edible fruits or oils that are used in cooking, but we found no mention that any of the leaves of palms were edible.  In fact, the fronds of Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island Date Palm) are known to be poisonous. This characteristic could very well be present in the leaves of many other palm species. We would suggest you could use them as a table decoration, but not on the menu.


 

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Use of Ilex sp. by Seminole Indians to make black drink.
August 03, 2009 - Ilex myrtifolia: can the leaves be used as tea? Seminole indians made a black drink reputed to be made of holly leaves.
view the full question and answer

Can tulip tree sap be used to make syrup in Bunker Hill IN?
July 10, 2009 - I was just wondering if tulip tree sap could be used to make syrup. I saw the sticky stuff on the leaves and decided to taste test it and it was very sweet, unfortunately I later found out that I was ...
view the full question and answer

Spots on non-native naval orange trees from Stockton CA
October 20, 2012 - I have two mature Navel Orange trees. One tree has developed spotty chlorophyl depleted areas that were not on the oranges when they were smaller. In addition, the oranges on both trees are smaller ,...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on edible and medicinal native plants
October 06, 2004 - I would like a list of edible & medicinal native plants for the San Antonio area.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on edible and poisonous plants
June 06, 2005 - I am trying to gather information regarding edible and poisonous plants in Utah's Salt Lake City area. Can you help? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

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