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?

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
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

Thursday - June 20, 2013

From: Seymour, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Edible Plants, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Can poisonous seed of wild plum be safely removed after steaming from Seymour IA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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 steam juicer and would like to put the entire cleaned fruit into it to process rather than pitting them first. Thank you.

ANSWER:

There are 35 members of the Prunus (plum) genus native to North America, 11 of which are native to Iowa. Of those, the one that grows closest to Wayne County is Prunus americana (American plum) which the USDA shows as growing in Clarke County, next  door from you on the southern border of Iowa. We always check for this sort of information to be sure the climate, rainfall and soils are right in the area in which the plant in question is being grown.

While nearly everything we read in our research mentioned the fact that everything on the Prunus plant, twigs, leaves, seeds, was poisonous except the fruit, no mention was made of removal of the seed before cooking. We found numerous recipes for wild plum jelly, including this one from GardenGuides.com How to Make Wild Plum Jelly. None of the recipes mentioned removing the seed first, but all specified draining the "mush" after cooking through several layers of cheesecloth, and discarding what was left in the cheesecloth mesh. That would certainly be a step not to be missed, because the fruit itself is small and the seeds smaller, so you need to be sure they are gone. We read several recipes from reputable sources and no mention of poisoning was made, so we think you are safe. The third picture from our Image Gallery, below, is the seed of the fruit with attached pulp.

 

From the Image Gallery


American plum
Prunus americana

American plum
Prunus americana

American plum
Prunus americana

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Plants to replace poison ivy in Kingsport TN
July 03, 2009 - Am in the process of killing off poison ivy that is growing vigorously. What do you recommend to plant in its place. I don't want to leave area open to other invasive plants. (Yes, poison ivy is a...
view the full question and answer

Wintering over an Angel Trumpet in Kentucky
September 20, 2008 - I have an Angel Trumpet on my deck in LaGrange,Ky -Can I plant it out in the yard now or do I have to take it in the house for the winter- It is 5 feet tall and I have no room in the house! Help!-Than...
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic plants for dog yard from Freeport PA
June 24, 2012 - I'm looking for wildlife-friendly native plants that aren't toxic to dogs. I have a place for some small shrubs and/or flowers. And a climbing vine that I could train on a trellis would work espec...
view the full question and answer

Is horseherb toxic to chickens in Austin, TX?
November 05, 2012 - My yard is almost completely horseherb (straggler daisy, calyptocarpus vialis) and I am hoping you can tell me if this is safe for chickens to eat? As common as it is here, there is nothing I could fi...
view the full question and answer

Can foxglove poison be transmitted to the soil and taken up by another plant
May 29, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, Recently I discovered a Foxglove that had come up after being planted 2 or 3 yrs ago. Next to it I have some medicinal Feverfew growing. (They were so close together I suspec...
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