Asked November 24, 2014, 11:33 PM EST

I wanted to ask an expert,and hopefully your not the one who wrote up the poison plant list...elderberry as I have heard is not as you people state completely all parts poisoness...people have been making jelly,jam.wine ,pies,etc out of that plants berries seemingly forever....and I would think you need to find someone who isn't an idiot to double check your facts about your plant toxins list,what's your opinion....thanks...George gouvas

California trees and shrubs poisonous plants elderberry horticulture

2 Responses

As the quote goes "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"

We humans eat many things which are actually poisonous in their natural state. But with special handling, treatment or conditions are then okay to eat. Bitter almonds, rhubarb leaves, pokeberry, apple seeds, even green potatoes contain toxins -- poisons.

All parts of the elderberry plant contain toxic alkaloids: the mystery writers favorite poison - cyanide. Even over-use of elderberry tea has proved fatal.

The special conditions that make elderberries edible involve two steps - one, that they be FULLY RIPE, and two that they be COOKED. As long as you understand that process, as tradition has passed down, you are safe. Unfortunately, without that specific knowledge, all parts of the plant are poisonous. Since most people do not bother to read the entire caveat, elderberries are listed as purely poisonous. Even one death by cyanide poisoning because someone did not read the entire article is just not acceptable.

I hope you see the reason for a detailed answer and why the simple answer of yes or no can be fatal.

Marilyn.thats exactly why I wrote you is because your original statement said That flat out that elderberry plants were poisonous,and they aren't if a person prepares them right as You stated.Thats what I was saying,that you need to put that info.on your fact sheet instead of the flat out remark...you could of put down...Poisonous ( unless ) and then you'll got their attention...and then go ahead and explain the real facts about how to prepare the berries,unlike what I said above,i have eaten the pies even with rhubarb pieces in the pies and have drank a little of the wine made by several different makers....It's a great plant going to waste because people think it's just plain poisonous....Like Pyracantha berries you can eat them right off the bush on the way to school ( I know ) and the jams and jellies are great...but how people think there poisonous ,damn near everybody I've talked to,because no body with any clout like you tell them any different...so there's a lot of parents/people out there going no no No don't touch them the'll kill you there POISONOUSssss...come on help us out....George...Nature and Natural....my mom and one of our rescue coyotes...No need to reply..take care..