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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

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!

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

 
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Saturday - May 04, 2013

From: Huntsville, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Edible Plants, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: Black chokeberry edible from Huntsville ON
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can the fruit of the black chokeberry be eaten??

ANSWER:

From a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on plants poisonous to livestock:

"Do not plant any trees in the rose family.  This includes cherries, plums, apples, pears and several other common trees.  Under certain conditions, their leaves can be very poisonous to livestock."

Apparently there is sometimes confusion between Photinia melanocarpa (Black chokeberry)  and Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry). Both are members of the Rosaceae family and both are native to Ontario. Under the circumstances, we believe you have the name right and, although the plant you are inquiring about is in the Rosaceae family, we believe that is edible but not poisonous. Generally, all parts of plants from the Prunus genus are considered poisonous, but those in the Photinia genus are not.

From earthday coalition:

"The fruit of the black chokeberry, while bitter raw, makes excellent jellies, jams and juices. The berries also provide a natural red dye."

Conclusion: If it is chokeBERRY  you want to eat, go right ahead, but be prepared to have some sugar on hand if you don't want to pucker up.

 

From the Image Gallery


Black chokeberry
Photinia melanocarpa

Black chokeberry
Photinia melanocarpa

Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana

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