Garden Huckleberry

Asked April 12, 2014, 12:07 AM EDT

Found these in the burgess catalog. Called extension center about these thinking they were the Western Huckleberry. She is concerned about the toxicity of this plant to wildlife. Found this article which says they are toxic before they ripen: /http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/garden-huckleberry/

Umatilla County Oregon human-wildlife issues horticulture

8 Responses

Hello,

You will note in the article that you provided the web site for that "Garden huckleberry or wonderberry (Solanum melanocerasum, syn S. nigrum guineense) is not a true huckleberry". This statement is correct. The wild "huckleberries" we have here in Oregon are actually wild blueberries and belong to the genus "Vaccinium". While Vaccinium or blueberry/huckleberry fruit are not poisonous when eaten green, the nightshade family (Solanum), what's in the article you linked to, are poisonous.

Thank you. Please clarify. You are saying that Garden Huckleberry or Solanum melanocarasum is poisonous when eaten green. Are they OK to eat when ripe? Is there a sure way to tell if they are ripe? Also wondering about danger to wildlife as well as people

Here is what I found on this plant (it is not one I'm familiar with). The garden huckleberry is Solanum melanocerseracium. It produces abundant shiny black berries that have little flavour, but can be made into nice jams and pies. Many plants in the nightshade family contain toxins, but several also produce edible food. Ripe fruits of the garden huckleberry or the wonderberry contain very little or no toxins and the toxins contained in these plants are destroyed by heat, so cooking would remove them.

Thank you again. Hard question to answer because of the legal ramifications. I am picturing this ladies grandkids eating the green berries.
I sent her the article I referenced. She is determined to plant them anyway.

You wrote: While Vaccinium or blueberry/huckleberry fruit are not poisonous when eaten green, the nightshade family (Solanum), what's in the article you linked to, are poisonous.
Did you mean that solanum melanocerasum is poisonous when eaten green or is it poisonous at other times

I really can't answer this with confidence..... not my area of expertise.

Thank you. I called the client today gave her a synopsis of what you said and told her that neither you or I have the expetise to tell her when the plants were safe to eat.
She had done further research and decided to return the seeds to Burgess. Yes she does have a grandchild that likes to put everything in his mouth.
Thank you for your help.