[NAFEX] What's safe to eat and what isn't
lonrom at hevanet.com
Tue Nov 30 19:59:22 EST 2004
All dogwood fruits are edible, but some are less enjoyable than others.
Best for eating are Cornus mas and C. kousa. The others tend to be
mealy and rather insipid, though some have a tinge of bitterness.
Arbutus unedo is edible and tasty, though there is a lot of grit in it,
such that it leaves you picking your teeth.
Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at
http://www.bunchgrapes.com Winner of the Garden Writers Association
"Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003.
On Nov 30, 2004, at 12:43 PM, Diane Whitehead wrote:
Our dogwood berries (Cornus nuttallii) would be hard to reach as the
trees are big. The fruit is reported as "edible but bitter".
The fruit clusters of creeping dogwood (Cornus canadensis) are clusters
of smooth berries - they wouldn't be considered a 'bumpy berry'. In
any case, they are not poisonous.
The eastern dogwood (Cornus florida) has fruit described as "slightly
poisonous". I have never seen them fruit here - summer too cool, I
guess - so I don't know what they look like.
The "strawberry tree" would most likely be Arbutus unedo. It grows
here and flowers all winter, providing nectar for hummingbirds, but it
rarely fruits. I did see a lot of fruit last month in northern
California, though. I had always read that 'unedo' means 'eat one'
because no one would eat a second. In Napa, they were dropping on the
ground, so I tried one which was juicy and pleasant. It tasted as good
as most tropical fruits ( only the distinctly flavoured tropicals get
shipped - most are sweet and bland.) I don't know why writers in the
U.K. say they taste unpleasant.
Our arbutus (Arbutus menziesii), known in the U.S. as madrone, has big
bunches of orange berries which are textured like oranges. They fall
to the ground in bunches, so could be accessible to small children. I
guess it would be a toss-up as to whether they'd be considered smooth
or bumpy, but they are edible.
Diane Whitehead Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
maritime zone 8
cool mediterranean climate (dry summer, rainy winter - 68 cm annually)
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