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A friend of mine has this growing in her garden in South London. She is worried the berries are poisonous as she has a young child who picks things up and puts them in her mouth.

Please can someone identify this shrub?

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  • Does your friend recall what the flowers were like - and how tall and wide is the plant, its hard to get a sense of scale from the pics provided in dropbox - and it would be easier if the pics were in the question, can't magnify in dropbox – Bamboo Aug 12 '16 at 10:37
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It's plausible that this is Lonicera xylosteum, (Fly Honeysuckle), which does indeed have toxic berries. The toxicity is low, however, and it's not likely that one would eat enough to cause any severe poisoning.

It could be another form of Lonicera. But for the most part, Honeysuckles should be considered non-edible.

Here is an article in regards to Lonicera, (Honeysuckle), toxicity: http://motherhood.modernmom.com/honeysuckle-toxicity-6148.html

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Lonicera chaetocarpa I think, one of the shrubby honeysuckles - it has somewhat dry and coarse or bristly looking, impressed leathery leaves like the ones in your picture, has pale yellow tubular flowers in pairs in Spring and the red berries arrive in summer, also in pairs. Had great difficulty finding a photograph of this plant online - there's one in the link below, and it does show a leaf or two,together with its spring flowers

https://mobile.twitter.com/BensBotanics/status/673073333106294784

Lonicera generally is not listed on the Poison Garden website (UK based) at all, which likely means the berries aren't lethal in any way. However, this is an ideal opportunity to teach a child never to pick and eat any berries from anything at all without an adult (or mum) being present - there are other plants with bright red but poisonous berries, so it's an essential part of parental teaching.

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