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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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