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
6 ratings

Tuesday - August 18, 2009

From: Aurora, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Toxic effect of mulberry fruits and sap
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What would be the toxic effect of the unripe fruit of the mulberry tree or the white sap?

ANSWER:

The Poisonous Plants of North Carolina database lists both the North American native Morus rubra (red mulberry) and the introduced Morus alba (white mulberry) as mildly toxic.  The toxic parts are the unripe berries and the white sap from any part.  The symptoms are hallucinations and stomach upset.  This database says that it "causes only low toxicity if eaten". This is the only toxic plant database I could find, however, that listed it. 

Delena Tull in Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest says that the pollen of these two trees causes hay fever.  She also says: 

"Unripe fruit and milky sap can cause gastrointestinal distress and some toxicity...The sap can cause a skin rash."

L. A. Peterson in A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Eastern and Central North America says about both species:

"Unripe fruit and raw shoots contain hallucinogens."


Morus rubra

Morus rubra

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Getting rid of poison ivy
May 08, 2009 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, Likewise I also have a shady area in my yard with overgrowth of poison ivy. It borders a small duck pond and we have a Golden Retriever. I too would like to plant soon afterward...
view the full question and answer

Photinia toxicity to dogs
June 15, 2009 - is the photinia bush toxic to dogs??
view the full question and answer

Non-native astilbe resemblance to non-native poisonous castor bean from Tomslake BC
May 21, 2014 - I have a plant that looks like a castor bean but it has flowers like a Younique Silvery Pink Astilbe. Need to id because castor bean is poisonous. This plant grows up to 5 feet in height. Thank you !
view the full question and answer

Are oleanders poisonous?
July 18, 2008 - Are Oleanders poisonous?
view the full question and answer

Identification of a cucumber-like vine with fruit
November 16, 2011 - We found tiny, grape-size white melon-like fruit on a vine, with tomato-like/cucumber-like seeds. The leaves on the vine were similar to grape or cucumber leaves, but not spiny. They were behind our...
view the full question and answer

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