En EspaŅol

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?


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
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
1 rating

Saturday - May 04, 2013

From: Huntsville, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Edible Plants, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: Black chokeberry edible from Huntsville ON
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Can the fruit of the black chokeberry be eaten??


From a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on plants poisonous to livestock:

"Do not plant any trees in the rose family.  This includes cherries, plums, apples, pears and several other common trees.  Under certain conditions, their leaves can be very poisonous to livestock."

Apparently there is sometimes confusion between Photinia melanocarpa (Black chokeberry)  and Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry). Both are members of the Rosaceae family and both are native to Ontario. Under the circumstances, we believe you have the name right and, although the plant you are inquiring about is in the Rosaceae family, we believe that is edible but not poisonous. Generally, all parts of plants from the Prunus genus are considered poisonous, but those in the Photinia genus are not.

From earthday coalition:

"The fruit of the black chokeberry, while bitter raw, makes excellent jellies, jams and juices. The berries also provide a natural red dye."

Conclusion: If it is chokeBERRY  you want to eat, go right ahead, but be prepared to have some sugar on hand if you don't want to pucker up.


From the Image Gallery

Black chokeberry
Photinia melanocarpa

Black chokeberry
Photinia melanocarpa

Prunus virginiana

More Edible Plants Questions

Montana native plants to create a garden with edible plants
January 14, 2013 - Hi Smarty Plants We are looking to create a native herb, vegetable, root, fruit, flower and ground cover garden for the area of Hot Springs, Sanders County, Montana. Our zone is 4 and soil is mostly ...
view the full question and answer

Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA
April 14, 2013 - Can you plant a blueberry next to a huckleberry?
view the full question and answer

White spots on Hibiscus leaves
August 06, 2008 - My hibiscus trees have white spots or splotches on the leaves. What is it and what can I do to get rid of it? Also, the birds are eating my tomatoes faster than i can grow them. I've used the owl &...
view the full question and answer

Can poisonous seed of wild plum be safely removed after steaming from Seymour IA
June 20, 2013 - I read on a related questions that you said the pit/seeds of all wild plums are poisonous. My question is this, can I juice the entire fruit for making jelly without removing the pit first? I have a s...
view the full question and answer

Blueberry and huckleberry plants for Washington state
April 20, 2010 - Could you give me the names of which blueberry plants and huckleberry bushes that grow the best in Walla Walla, Washington and where and how to plant and space and care for them?? Thanks so much.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center