Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - February 22, 2014

From: Williamsport, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Edible Plants, Shrubs
Title: Edibility of Washington Hawthorn berries from Williamsport PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Please tell me if Washington Hawthorn berries and leaves are edible and if so, how to prepare them. Thank you!

ANSWER:

We are Mr. Smarty Plants, not Mr. Smarty Chef, and we are afraid we have no rolodex file of recipes for native edible plants. However, these two articles below have some suggestions on what you can eat and how to prepare it. The gist of this is that you can eat the leaves, just as a snack, and you can eat the berries but NOT the seeds. They are poisonous. If you cook the berries whole, you must very carefully strain the seeds out of the pulp. We understand you must also very carefully strain the berries out of the bushes because they have ferocious thorns guarding the territory. The result of that is that the birds (which can maneuver around the thorns) will likely beat you to the berries anyway.

Eat the Weeds Hawthorn Harvest

Section on Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington hawthorn) from book Edible Wild Plants

In addition to these two articles, we are listing (at the very bottom of this page) a number of books on edible plants in the Mid-Atlantic states. These may be available at a local library; some of them have ordering information included.

 

From the Image Gallery


Washington hawthorn
Crataegus phaenopyrum

Washington hawthorn
Crataegus phaenopyrum

Washington hawthorn
Crataegus phaenopyrum

More Edible Plants Questions

Need source of plants for making teas in Bend, Oregon.
July 08, 2012 - I love to make my own tea, just moved to central Oregon and want to know some good plants I can find anywhere in town and can use in my teas.
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant with bumpy red fruit
April 26, 2011 - I have a bush with red berry like pods on it. They are about 3/4 of an inch bumpy round with a big seed inside. The leaves are smooth and oval shape. Please let me know if it is poisonous or not, and...
view the full question and answer

Information about Cedar Sage from Austin
March 11, 2011 - I am new to the Austin area and was wondering about cedar sage (salvia roemeriana). Is this plant considered aromatic, non-aromatic of chia? And, other than the edible flower are other parts of the ...
view the full question and answer

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

Edible native plants in New York
July 29, 2013 - In your plant database- which is great by the way- it does not say whether or not the plant is edible. Do you have any way to search for edible plants? Or do you have a separate database? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.