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Tuesday - October 12, 2010

From: Miami, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Miami gardener needs to know toxicity of Cordia boissieri
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus


Hello. I have a question about Cordia boissieri. Is it toxic for humans (all parts of the plant)? I want to plant it in South Florida, in an area with children.


Wikipedia and several other sources state that the fruit of Cordia boissieri (Mexican olive) is slightly toxic and causes dizziness. However jellies made from the fruit are safe to eat.  The fruit is eaten by birds, squirrels, other mammals and livestock. This is also a medicinal plant.  A syrup made from the fruit is given for coughs.  The leaves are used to treat rheumatism and pulmonary disease in Mexico and are being studied for their antibiotic properties.

I wouldn't be too worried about growing it around children.  The best protection is to teach them to never put anything in their mouths and to never pick anything without permission.  There are many poisonous plants growing in public parks and private homes that they visit, so you can't protect them without training them. My grandson and I have had many conversations about not eating plants, or even picking anything without permission. By the the time he was three, he was reliable around plants.

Here is a list of databases to check for possible poisonous plants.

Toxic Plants of Texas

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System


Cordia boissieri





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