What am I?

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by angelblue1960, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. angelblue1960

    angelblue1960 Member

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    I live on the coast of Texas and have seen lots of strange plants but I don't think this one is a native. Its very lovely especially the berry clusters. It just came up under one of the pecan trees here on our property. Didn't really notice it until the berries came on it. See attached photo and tell me what it is please! Thanks
    Linda
     

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi,

    This is Callicarpa americana, or American beautyberry. It is indeed native to Texas - here's a link to Texas Native Plants Database from Texas A&M.
     
  3. angelblue1960

    angelblue1960 Member

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    Thank you Daniel for your response. I checked out that A&M website but I still have one more question about the Beautyberry, Is it poisonus to humans or animals of any kind? I didn't see that on the A&M website and thought you might know. Thanks again for the help.
    Linda
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It's edible for birds, and I could only find one reference that it is not toxic to livestock. I can't find anything quickly regarding other mammals (including humans).

    The plant family it resides in doesn't have any edible members, though some of its relatives are poisonous (but that really doesn't mean much, since some plants are poisonous at some stages, and then we eat them, like tomatoes).
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Whether it is poisonous or not I don't know, but it would be very difficult to find out - the berries taste so revolting (VERY astringent) that you'd spit them out long before eating enough to do any harm
     
  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Michael, I thought that might be the case (since I couldn't find much literature on whether they are poisonous to humans), but I didn't want to suggest it without knowing for sure. Thanks for being the guinea pig.
     
  7. angelblue1960

    angelblue1960 Member

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    Thank you both for your response. Daniel you were on track about the livestock hazard that was my concern. Michael I gather you have taste tested them at least once to be able to give us your opinion. Brave guinea pig you are friend!! Thanks again to both of you! Linda
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Not me - I read it in a book! So someone else did the guinea-pigging :-)
     
  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I should update one of my notes from above regarding the edibility of any members of Callicarpa's plant family. When I wrote that, I was under the impression that it was still in the Verbenaceae (or verbena family). It seems like current work places it in the mint family, Lamiaceae, of which there are edible members. Still, that doesn't contradict the rest of the discussion about the general palatibility of the fruit.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2005
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Daniel,

    Do you have a reference for the transfer to Lamiaceae?
     
  11. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    No, still seeking it out as per today's (Nov. 16) BPotD.
     
  12. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Found some references: A Synoptical Classification of the Lamiales from the Olmstead Lab in Univ. of Washington and Cantino. 1992. Evidence for a polyphyletic origin of the Labiatae. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 79: 361-379.
     
  13. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks! Bookmarking that one.
     

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