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

Precautions to take with Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum
September 13, 2009 - Are there precautions to take, such as wearing gloves while separating the seeds from the Jack In The Pulpit berries. The photos I have seen have gloved hands. I've read that the plant is toxic if in...
view the full question and answer

Replacing Drought-Stricken Cedars
January 16, 2012 - Hello, I live in Williamson County on a couple acres. We have several dead cedars as a result of drought; we're reluctant to cut them down because many of them provide a friendly barrier between us...
view the full question and answer

Is it safe to eat vegetables grown in the same bed as foxgloves?
August 12, 2012 - I have foxglove in my flower beds and have planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cantaloupe in the flower bed and now I am concerned about the shared root system. Also, my tomatoes are touching the...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for shrub in Florida
September 03, 2011 - On our street we have ornamental shrub planted in the median that has small waxy green leaves, produces small fragrant white flowers, and red berries with white pulp and small seeds on the inside. Th...
view the full question and answer

Non-Toxic Hedge for Wisconsin
December 17, 2015 - What would be a good non-toxic for dogs, privacy hedge about 3-6 feet tall for Wisconsin climate zone 4b?
view the full question and answer

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