Saturday, December 1, 2012

Buckbrush [Coralberrry]

This is a great time of year to find plants and identify things that get lost in all of the green of Greene County.    Over the next few days, I'll be showing you some of the wild autumn berries that we find out here.   Some will be familiar; some won't.  

It's tricky doing a search for weed fruit.   The vast majority of search sites want to know the leaves and flowers.   That's a problem in November when there are no more flowers and most of the leaves were down.   I was lucky that the leaves were still on this plant.   That helped a lot.

Here is a great site for identifying wild berries, etc.:  It's the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center out of Texas.   Fabulous database with pics. 

[Note:  Avoid any eHow  or site.  They're worthless.]

This plant was a brand new one for me.    I'd never noticed anything like it before and the irregularity of the berries really surprised me.    [We see that type of thing with blackberries that have been infected by a rust [fungus], but never a fall berry like this.]   Plus, it was decidedly pink - not the cranberry, fire engine red that we normally see out here.

This is Symphoricarpos orbiculatus.  It's common names are coralberry, Indian currant and buckbrush.    It is mildly poisonous, so don't try eating one.   It's in the honeysuckle family and the LBJ Wildflower Center recommends it as a great plant for naturalizing.

Cool!  I can see why they love it.

Here's a follow-up search hint:  Once you think you've identified your plant, go back and do another Google [or whatever] photo search using the name you just found for the plant.  That'll help pull up more photos and information so you can verify the identification and also maybe find out exactly what species you might have. 


  1. I'm going to guess they aren't edible? They look like they might be hard berries...would they be 'fixable' for dried arrangements? What about using them for dying? Geesh, I'm full of questions today...

    1. They're soft berries and they are poisonous, but only mildly so. So, if you want to try them, they won't kill you, they'll just make you vomit. Yuck. They are not a dye source.


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