En EspaŅol

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
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
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


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!


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

Grafting to a cherry laurel for edible fruit in Austin
July 01, 2010 - I was the one who asked earlier about grafting to a Cherry Laurel. I will happily graft a local plum on it, say a Mexican Plum or American Plum or one of the naturalized peaches (a friend has an India...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 04, 2012 - We found a bush on our ranch in southern Gonzales County. It has oval shaped leaves about an inch long. There are no thorns on the branches. Fruit is round and smooth, the size of a small cherry to...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native grapefruit from seeds from Austin
April 30, 2013 - Can you grow ruby red grapefruit trees from seeds?
view the full question and answer

Edibility of Rumex hastatulus (heartwing sorrel)
March 25, 2007 - My mother and aunt, who are in their 80s, tell stories of eating a plant, when they were girls in North Central Texas. They call the plant "sheep shire". My mother says that it is a flat weed, that...
view the full question and answer

Worms in wild plums
June 03, 2009 - Wild Plums... They are just starting to get ripe here in East Texas. Picked a few today and they all had dark spots on them. When I cut them open there were tiny worms inside. Does this mean they a...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center