Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
17 ratings

Sunday - September 21, 2008

From: Silver Creek, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Are berries of American Beautyberry poisonous?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have an American Beautyberry Plant and I need to know if the purple berries are toxic - we have dogs and I wouldn't want them to eat them. Thanks for any information you may have on this plant.

ANSWER:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) doesn't appear in any of our favorite toxic plant databases:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Texas Toxic Plant Database

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants Database

Plus, none of the lists specific for dogs (Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and Doberdogs) that I found has it named.

Here is what Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest says, however, about eating American beautyberry:

"I have found several sources stating that the fruit is safe to eat, and several stating that it is inedible....I have talked to one woman who reported feeling slight nausea after eating beauty-berry jelly.  Personally, I discourage its use for food.  The raw fruit has an unpleasant flavor."

Since it isn't listed on any toxic database, I wouldn't think your dogs would be in any danger from eating a few berries.  They probably aren't something the dogs would like to eat anyway and you could always remove the majority of the berries from the bushes if they do seem to be interested in eating them.


Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Smarty Plants on edible and medicinal native plants
October 06, 2004 - I would like a list of edible & medicinal native plants for the San Antonio area.
view the full question and answer

Ground cover plant that tastes like cucumbers
December 18, 2011 - It is a native ground cover plant that is edible and tastes like cucumbers. Found in the Edwards Plateau. What is the name?
view the full question and answer

Lindheimer's Muhly Grass Seeds for Human Use?
July 07, 2016 - Does anyone know if Lindheimer's Muhly seeds were ever used as human food source?
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of barren strawberries
April 30, 2012 - Are barren strawberries toxic? .
view the full question and answer

Controlling Cnidoscolus texanus (Texas bullnettle)
July 18, 2013 - Hello,I need your help to control some nasty weeds in my yard/pasture. I am an old timer and do not have a picture to include—haven't figured out that part of the camera/phone yet. This weed is a pri...
view the full question and answer

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