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
1 rating

Thursday - March 22, 2012

From: Titusville, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants, Shrubs
Title: Is the fruit of American Beautyberry (French Mulberry) edible?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am trying to find out if the "American Beautyberry" or "French Mulberry" fruit is edible? Can you tell me? Your website's information about this plant has been the most informative information I've come across. Thanks for your website.

ANSWER:

We have had other inquiries that concern the edibility of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) so I am going to refer you to those questions and Mr. Smarty Plants answers:

  1. Can beautyberries be used to make jelly...?
  2. Are berries of American Beautyberry poisonous?

Here is what Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest says about eating American beautyberry:

"I have found several sources stating that the fruit is safe to eat, and several stating that it is inedible....I have talked to one woman who reported feeling slight nausea after eating beauty-berry jelly.  Personally, I discourage its use for food.  The raw fruit has an unpleasant flavor."

According to Charles Allen in Edible Plants of the Gulf South.  Allen's Native Ventures (2005):

"The fruits are edible and the later in the season the better.   The taste is sweet with an aromatic hint and perhaps could be made into a pie or jelly."

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

More Shrubs Questions

Fast-growing non-invasive shrub for privacy fence in Sugar Land TX
December 06, 2011 - I live in South Texas in Sugar Land. I was going to plant oleanders in my backyard along the fence as a privacy hedge, about 20 feet from my house. However, I was told they were a bad choice becaus...
view the full question and answer

Need options for smaller trees in neighborhoods in Austin, TX.
May 25, 2012 - Please discuss smaller tree options for typical Austin neighborhood yards. These houses are built close together on the sides, and only have smallish back yards. They just don't have space for big 50...
view the full question and answer

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

Eugenia Substitutes for Southern California
May 14, 2011 - Is there a eugenia bush (preferable one that can grow tall) without berries. We like this plant but the berries create a problem. We live in Los Angeles, CA. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Tecoma stans in Austin
August 02, 2008 - We Planted a Yellow Esperanza shrub 2 years ago that was blooming when we purchased it. It bloomed very little last year and not at all this year. It looks very healthy and each year gets about 10 f...
view the full question and answer

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