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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Search Results for: Berries | Search the catalog for: Berries

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Lonicera, Poisonous plants, Berries

Are the berries of wild woodbine poisonous?


Wild woodbine or woodbine is Lonicera periclymenum. But many species of Lonicera are found in the United States.

For photos of L. periclymenum, see the two sites below:
West Highland Flora
Paghat's Garden

North Carolina University's poisonous plant website indicates that the berries of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) are poisonous.

Toxic Plants of North America (G.E. Burrows and R.J. Tyrl, 2001, pp.321, 322) says that while some species of Lonicera (i.e., L. involucrata) are edible, the rest are associated with digestive tract problems in children (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), especially the European species. In the U.S., on the other hand, records of complaints are not often associated with records of clinical signs.

Date 2018-03-01
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Vaccinium, Berries--Diseases and pests, Rubus, Fragaria, Insect pests, Prunus, Fruit--Diseases and pests, Berries

Could you tell me more about a new type of fruit fly that is supposedly infesting fruit here in the Pacific Northwest? Which fruit are affected?


The fruit fly is called the Spotted Wing Drosophila. It is known to affect strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, plum, peach, cherry, and grape. Oregon State University has created an information clearinghouse about this pest. Here is their information for home fruit growers. Washington State University has also devoted several web pages to this fly. Here is their Integrated Pest Management information, excerpted below (SWD stands for Spotted Wing Drosophila):
"Monitor for SWD using traps. [...] These vinegar traps are for monitoring purposes only and will not provide control of SWD. Remember, chemical control is not necessary if SWD is not present.
Composting fruit will likely not be effective at destroying maggots and pupae.
Remove infested and fallen fruit. Destroy or dispose of infested fruit in a sealed container.
Management recommendations are currently being developed for this pest. For the time being, good sanitation practices should be used."

Whatcom County Extension has clear, basic information for home gardeners as well. Since this insect is a relatively recent invader in the Northwest, information is constantly being adjusted and research is ongoing.

Date 2017-08-15
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Strawberries, Fragaria, Fruit--Care and maintenance, Berries

If you feel cheated by the big, red, sour strawberries available in grocery stores late winter is the time to start your own little strawberry field. Starter plants are available in nurseries, but which variety to choose? If you want to harvest many berries at once for jam or pies buy "June-bearing" such as 'Shuksan' or 'Rainier'; if you want lower maintenance plants that will provides a few berries throughout the summer buy "Day-neutral" such as 'Tribute' or 'Tillicum.'

The experts all agree, you should cut off the first flush of flowers so that your plants will develop larger crowns and eventually more fruit. This means no fruit for the first year for June-bearing strawberries. Don't scrimp on water, but good drainage is also essential. Applying a mulch will help keep the soil cool and moist and protect the ripening berries from soil fungus. But mulch will also give shelter to slugs, so take care to use an organic-acceptable iron phosphate bait (such as Sluggo) regularly.
While technically perennial, strawberry plants should be replaced every 2 to 3 years with newly purchased stock. Recommended reading on growing strawberries, from Oregon State University, will get you off to a good start.

Stephen Wilhelm and James E. Sagen in their book, A History of the Strawberry: from ancient gardens to modern markets, investigate how the strawberry was named. The theory they give most credence to is that the runners are "strewed" from the mother plant. In ancient times one word used for "strew" was "straw," and thus a strewing berry became strabery (sic) which eventually became strawberry in England.
If you want to use straw as the mulch for strawberries look in the yellow pages under "feed stores."

Date: 2007-04-03
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Berries

Wild Berries of the West by Betty B. Derig and Margaret C. Fuller, Missoula: Mountain Press, 2001. Plants that produce berries provide food for people and wildlife, plus something to look at in the dead of winter. Use Wild Berries of the West to expand the number of fruiting plants growing in your garden. The authors include botanical descriptions, habitat, how native people used the plants and whether the fruit is edible. They even include recipes like Mom's Serviceberry Squares.

Date: 2007-07-12
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Callicarpa, Berries

In autumn, when deciduous shrubs lose their leaves, luscious berries extend the season of color into winter. One of the most unassuming shrubs, Callicarpa, is ignored most of the year, but in the fall most everyone who comes upon the berries of this shrub takes notice. Little shining lavender balls adorn the branches of this plant, and most who see it agree the common name of Beautyberry is appropriately applied. Read more about it in the November/December 2002 issue of Garden Design Magazine.

Date: 2008-02-06
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August 01 2017 12:36:01