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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Tuesday - October 14, 2014

From: Tinton falls , NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Poisonous Plants
Title: Kousa Dogwood Fruit Toxic to Dogs?
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Are Kousa dogwood berries toxic to dogs?

ANSWER:

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has an excellent website that lists plants that are toxic or non-toxic to pets. Since Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) is not a native plant and you won’t find details of its toxicity in our Native Plant Database and Mr. Smarty Plants can't advise on this. So looking at the ASPCA page for Kousa dogwood shows that the bright pink, bumpy fruit are not listed under the plants toxic to dogs so they appear to be safe (but they are not listed under those that are non-toxic either).

Green Deame on his Eat the Weeds and Other Things, Too website has an article on the Kousa Dogwood and says the following about the fruit and its edibility for humans…

“Although the fruit is pink to red, inside it is yellow to orange and has a taste people can’t agree on. Some say the texture similar to a pear or apricot. To me the pulp texture was like a ripe persimmon, the flavor like an apple. The tougher skin tasted like bitter peach. Usually it is eaten raw but can be cooked but doing so can destroy its delicate flavor. The fruit can also be made into jelly. As I said the skin can be tough and sometimes the fruit is bitter.  The young leaves are cooked and eaten by mountain people in Japan.”

Regarding your dog though, if you suspect that your pet has eaten Kousa dogwood fruit and is under distress, see your veterinarian immediately.

 

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