Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 - September 03, 2012

From: Jacksonville, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Edible Plants
Title: Identity of a plant in Florida with red fruit like a small tomato
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

It looks like a small tomato but it isn't. It has a bunch of flakey seeds on the inside, which are a light brown in color. The outside is red, and I think it starts out growing green and also white. The inside is white. It has thorns on the stem. It is also hard. It has no smell, and of course I'm not going to taste it incase it's posionous. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Lycium carolinianum (Carolina wolfberry) has thorny branches and red berries that look like small tomatoes.  Here are more photos and information from Plant Creations.  They are edible according to our species page, Plant Creations and Eat the Weeds.  You were wise not to sample them, however, since wolfberries are in the same plant family (Family Solanaceae-Potato Family) that includes some poisonous species—e.g., Solanum americanum (American nightshade).

If this doesn't happen to be the plant you described, you should photograph it and then visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that will accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Carolina wolfberry
Lycium carolinianum

Carolina wolfberry
Lycium carolinianum

More Edible Plants Questions

Information on herbs for Northeast Ohio
May 03, 2006 - Hello there, I am writing you seeking some information on Northeast Ohio's native plants. This has been rather difficult to find—specific native plants that can be used as herbs. If you could h...
view the full question and answer

Fruit or nut trees for land in North Carolina
March 30, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants I have 70 acres of land in Claremont, NC and am looking for low maintenance trees, plants, vegetables, etc., anything I can grow so that this land doesn't sit unused. I am especial...
view the full question and answer

Edible/medicinal plants in Suffolk County, NY
August 19, 2010 - Which types of edible/medicinal plants are available in Suffolk County (Long Island NY)? Is there a place I can find a list with information about what they look like, where they can be found and what...
view the full question and answer

Orange/yellow fungus on a dead oak
October 04, 2009 - I have a large dead oak tree which has an orange/yellow fungus growing at the base and also high on a spot where a branch had broken off. I've read a couple of things from the internet about this fun...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a List of Edible Wild Plants for Ohio
September 06, 2013 - What are some edible wild plants in Ohio?
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.