En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Identity of a plant in Florida with red fruit like a small tomato

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 - 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

Sweet cherry tree for New Mexico
January 23, 2013 - What is the best kind of sweet cherry tree to plant in Santa Fe, NM? I have apple, apricot, peach and pear. Would like cherry unless it is a bad idea.
view the full question and answer

Can bluebonnets be made into jelly from Ennis TX
May 07, 2013 - Are Texas bluebonnet flowers okay for human consumption? I have seen recipes for wild violet jelly,so was wondering about making bluebonnet jelly from the bluebonnet blossoms if they are not poisonous...
view the full question and answer

Wild Edible Books for Pennsylvania
February 11, 2014 - I was hoping I could get some suggestions of one or more good books on wild edibles that I can find in Southwest PA. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
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

Identification of tree with strawberry-like fruit in North Carolina
September 24, 2011 - While visiting Boone, North Carolina we walked the Greenway in town. There were a few trees with a round red fruit similar to a strawberry. They were about the size of a penny and a dull red color dot...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center