Are Fuchsias Edible: Learn About Eating Fuchsia Berries And Flowers

You may have a curious toddler or a mouthy pooch who finds grazing in the garden a delight. However, consider that many of the plants we have in our landscapes are not edible and may, in fact, be poisonous. Just because a fuchsia produces berry-like fruits, for instance, may not mean they can be eaten. Are fuchsias edible? We’ll go into that and a bunch of other fun facts about the fuchsia plant in this article.

Can You Eat Fuchsia?

The French monk and botanist Charles Plumier discovered fuchsia on the island of Hispaniola in the late 1600s. It was apparent to the natives at the time that there was no fuchsia plant toxicity, and Plumier wrote a great deal on the flavor and medicinal uses of the plant. There are now over 100 species of this versatile flowering plant, which are spread in the warmer Americas and into New Zealand.

There are countless varieties of fruits, both wild and cultivated. Many of these are edible and actually delicious while others are not tasty but effective medicine or high in nutrients. Ominously still, others are actually toxic or poisonous and serious illness or death can result after

ingestion. Are fuchsias edible? This is a valid question, as the deeply purple berries appear to be some sort of juicy, tangy sweet delicacy.

In fact, all fuchsia fruit are edible and you can eat the flowers too. By all accounts, the berries are lightly tart with lemony freshness. Some foodies compare them to stoneless cherries. Either way, they are not toxic and can be eaten in a variety of ways.

Harvesting Berries and Flowers

Since we have established there is no fuchsia plant toxicity, it is safe to gather some berries and/or flowers and try them out. Berries often arrive towards the end of the summer, usually as the plant is still flowering. The effect is decorative and unique. Because plants keep flowering during fruiting, you can harvest berries at any time.

Berries should be plump, smooth and fairly easy to twist off the stem. Alternatively, you can use scissors to snip them off. Wash the fruit and prepare it as you would like. The flowers are also edible. Harvest when fully open. Use the petals as a salad, garnish or frozen inside ice cubes for a pretty party drink.

Eating fuchsia berries and flowers adds Vitamin C and many other nutrients to the table while brightening up all your dishes.

One of the more popular things to do with the berries is to make it into a spreadable jam. The method is the same as most other berry jams. You can also bake them into scones, muffins, cakes and more. Top them over pancakes or ice cream or add them to a fruit salad. Their mildly tart-sweet flavor brightens up meat dishes as a chutney. They also are great for just eating out of hand as a gardener’s handy snack.

Take care of your plants and they will take care of you. Make sure your fuchsia plant is in part sun where the roots can stay cool. Feed with a high potash fertilizer in spring to increase flowers and, of course, fruits.

If your plant is hardy, prune it lightly in late winter. If you have the tender variety, try bringing it indoors to overwinter. With a little effort, many of the varieties of fuchsia can produce fruit for your home for years.

Are all fuchsia plant berries edible?

Hi. Interesting question. I have researched poisonous plant listings and can’t find the fuchsia on them. I then went to the website for the American Fuchsia Society and found information answering you question directly. They state that fuchsias are not poisonous and that you can eat the berries but they do not recommend eating the leaves. They go on to say that some are more palatable than others. Interestingly enough deer also seem to have preferences and will leave some varieties alone while munching down on others. You can apparently make jam out to of the fuchsia berries. One source called the product bland while another liked it so again, it is apparently a varietal issue or one of personal preference. I also want to mention that every site that discusses edible flowers talks about the use of pesticides and knowing the source of the flowers that you consume. One mentions not eating flowers grown in fields where raw manure was used and all discuss the pesticide issue. Another cautions using flowers collected from a roadside. Consumption of plants fed with systemic pesticide can accumulate them in the tissues of the plant are not recommended. Plants sprayed with a pesticide also would be off my culinary listing.

Several online nursery sites were selling edible fuchsias touting the nutritional benefits of the berries but when I searched edible flowers lists I did not find the fuchsia. Here is a great list of edible flowers from the Extension office of North Carolina State University. For some reason the link does work so work you will have to cut and paste it into your browser search box. Note that it does not list fuchsias. http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/choosing-and-using-edible-flowers-ag-790 Other places on the internet from non-academic sources list fuchsias and in some cases recipes. To answer your question about removing the berries from the plant to encourage blooming; yes remove them for a better continued bloom. Fuchsias are also heavy feeding plants as they grow and continually bloom throughout the season.

I have been collecting information on fuchsias for over thirty years and have never come across any reference that they are poisonous. I can remember someone telling me that they threw their fuchsia clippings into their paddock and the animals (can’t remember which type) would not eat them until the leaves had shriveled. This would suggest that the leaves are not very palatable.

I look forward to any comments as I do not want you standing round my grave saying: “he ate the sandwich in the interest of fuchsia science.” Regards…Derek

And here are the various replies:

•The only toxins in fuchsias are those that we add. Berries make mediocre to great jam/jellies. Blossoms and leaves may be crystallized. Watch out for systemic!!!! They accumulate in tissues.

•Some varieties apparently aren’t as flavorful as others—deer will eat one plant to the ground and leave the one next to it alone.

•I have eaten many fruits of fuchsias, but only a few at each time (F. magellanica, F. encliandra) and had no problems but I never try to eat leaves!

•I have recipes from France, England and here in the USA for using fuchsia blossoms, with no mention of being careful of leaves. I have used one cake recipe where the blossoms and small leaves are dipped in egg white and then in sugar for decorations. Again no mention of danger. Most of these recipes are from restaurants.

•This is an important question. We have sold a lot of fuchsia plants to a nursery here that specializes in salad mixes that they sell to restaurants. They are only including the blooms and are growing them without poisonous sprays but there must have been a resource that told them they were safe. People make fuchsia jelly from the fruit also. I’m anxious to learn the facts on this.

•Let’s talk about one thing at a time, fuchsia friends. Fuchsias are edible, not tasty but edible (fuchsia berries are sold in the markets in ‘strawberry boxes’ down in Bolivia and Peru).

•A couple of years ago my herd of some ten sheep found a hole in their fence. A few baskets of fuchsias were extremely tasty; they performed rather a heavy pruning. May I add that none of the culprits showed any sign of bad digestion—thus the hearsay about fuchsias being poisonous must be considered pure slander. Of course there is a difference between what is nutritious to man and to sheep.

•Regarding this ridiculous story of poisonous fuchsias. I have grown these plants for over thirty years, without the slightest problem. I have to be very careful what I grow too, as I have a sensitive skin and am suffering from the skin disease Psoriasis, so my skin can be very sensitive to allergies. I get a reaction to polyanthus and primroses and have to wear gloves to handle them but never a problem with fuchsias. A little care with the handling of certain plants and washing before eating or handing food, etc, are usually enough to avoid trouble in the garden. After all tales go back many years of fuchsias and apple pie, fuchsia jam and jelly, crystallized fuchsias, etc., etc. That does not say I have tried these things, I prefer to enjoy the lovely flowers! The moral to all this? Use your common sense! Be aware of those plants that are harmful and wash before taking risks.

•In my experience, fuchsia flowers (always from a plant that has not been subjected to systemic poisons or poisonous sprays) are bitter. Try ‘Voodoo’ or ‘Dollar Princess’ for example and see for yourself. Of course they make a beautiful garnish and of course endive is also bitter and used all the time in salads so bitterness of itself is not all that out of the way. Any brave souls want to keep tabs on which flowers are the best tasting?

•The conclusion—fruits, etc., are not poisonous unless we have sprayed them but hopefully that is common sense.

From B.C. Fuchsia and Begonia Society The Eardrop of January 2007

From AFS Fuchsia Consultant

An excellent listing of toxic plants is available on the Cornell University website: http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/index.html (Fuchsia is not on this listing.)

For a listing of plants that are good, bad and very bad, Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon Poison Center has this website: http:www.ohsu.edu/poison/youAndYourfamily/plantSafety.htm. Scroll down to ”Good Nontoxic Plants” and this listing will include fuchsia.

As I was removing the dried fuchsia heads of the hanging flower basket my fingers were drenched in the berry juice. I licked my fingers instinctively… and in the midst of tasting the sweet juice I froze, panicked that I had just poisoned myself. I immediately ran to Google to confirm if I was going to die… thankfully there were recipes for jam instead.

Some neat facts and tips for eating fuchsias:

  • The berries can vary in shape and size depending on the flowers it comes from. My fuchsia were very big and produced peanut sized fruit.
  • Ripe fruits are tender and juicy and usually 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, maroon to black or blue-black. Pick them when they are soft and squishy.
  • Some varieties apparently aren’t as flavorful as others—deer will eat one plant to the ground and leave the one next to it alone.
  • Good-quality fruits of Fuchsia magellanica have a subtle grape flavor with a slight black-pepper note. Fruits of F. splendens have a tart, lemony flavor.
  • You can crystallize the flowers with egg whites and sugar.
  • Fuchsia berries are sold in markets in strawberry baskets in Bolivia and Peru.
  • The flowers are also edible but can be mild to bitter.
  • Single-flowered varieties will usually produce more fruit than semi-double and fully double varieties because they don’t have to produce as many petals.
  • Before eating the flower remove all green and brown bits and the stamen pistils as this will enhance the flavour.
  • It takes a long time to get enough berries. If you have to save up your berries for a batch of jam or a tart, freeze them in the meantime. Salads will require fresh, unfrozen berries.
  • Species and cultivars notable for flavor and productivity include:
    • Fuchsia corymbifolia
    • F. excorticata aka Kotukutuku
    • F. magellanica and cultivars ‘Globosa’ and ‘Tresco’
    • F. procumbens
    • F. splendens and cultivar ‘Karl Hartweg’
    • F. venusta

Last summer I was having a drink in a friend’s garden when she leant over to her hedge, plucked a few fuchsia berries and offered them to me. Until this point I had no idea they were edible. I’ve hardly ever grown fuchsias so hadn’t even considered they might have berries that you can eat. But they are edible, and they were rather nice. Thoughts immediately turned to booze…

I’m not sure I want a large fuchsia bush in my garden, so this year stuck a plant in a pot instead as a starting point for some berry experimentations. The plant didn’t grow particularly large* and, whereas my friend’s berries have a slight fruity juiciness, mine were lacking in such tempting flavours and, instead, were dominated by the peppery flavours of the skin. Not horrible, but not particularly appealing for a boozy beverage either.

Following a little research it seems that the different varieties do have varying tastes. According to the excellent Drunken Botanist website it’s the Fuchsia splendens variety that provides the tastiest fruit, suggesting using them in a simple syrup for cocktails as the best way of enjoying them in booze. And having tweeted a picture of my own fuchsia berries Lancashire Mead Co. thought they might make a good addition to mead making.

If I’m going to run some proper fuchsia-booze experiments then I’ll need to plant a bigger and tastier variety or raid someone else’s bush. But if anyone reading this has already tried a few fuchsia flavoured beverages then let me know.

*It has been partially elbowed out of the way by some self-seeded kale (you can see a few leaves peeking out in the above image) which looked too tasty to cast aside

Raw edible parts
The flowers and fruit of all fuchsia species are edible raw but flavours may vary considerably. Regarding the flowers, removing the green and brown parts as well as the stamen pistils may improve the flavour of the petal. This isn’t absolutely necessary and depends on individual species and even individual plants including where and how they have been grown. The flowers make a stunning display for salads, raw cakes, flans and desserts.
The branch sap of some species can be eaten by breaking off a branch and sucking out the sap. The sap may or may not be very forthcoming! We have yet to try this.
The fruit are a bit like an oblong jelly baby often with a peppery after taste. The darker the colour, the richer the flavour. It has been said that the fruit of some species may leave an unpleasant after taste in the mouth. F. splendens has been recommended as one of the best edible fruits. Ken Fern (Plants for a Future) says “A juicy berry. This is the nicest fuchsia fruit we have eaten as yet, its flavour is somewhat lemon-like with no noticed aftertaste, our 12 month old child was ecstatic about them, eating them in quantity.”
Other species which are recorded as having a juicy fruit include F. boliviana, F. excorticata, F. paniculata, F. coccinea and F. fulgens. We also noticed, but haven’t been able to track down any seeds or plants yet, is fuchsia ‘Gummiberry’ which was introduced by Suttons Seeds in 2014.
Further information

www.thebfs.org.uk

13 poisonous plants your toddler should watch out for

Serious poisoning by plants is not common in the UK. Some garden plants present a hazard, but the risk of severe poisoning, skin reaction or allergy is generally low.

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MadeForMums got the low-down on some common plants that could pose a risk from Guy Barter, chief horticultural advisor for the Royal Horticultural Society as well as from Miranda Janatka at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.

“Certain plants have the potential to cause harm, but hardly ever do,” says Guy. “Remember, it’s not just children but also pets that can be vulnerable, too.”

“The vast majority of accidents in the garden involve falling off ladders and hardly anyone gets hurt by plants. It’s more a question of awareness and educating children about plants,” says Guy.

Miranda adds that “all plants, unless known to be edible, should be assumed harmful”.

13 poisonous plants your toddler should watch out for…

One mum is warning against the dangers of hogweed after her son suffered serious, painful burn-like blisters on his hands and arms, says the Mail Online.

While it’s a pretty plant (often found beside riverbanks and along paths), the sap is toxic. It can causes the aforementioned blistering and extreme sensitivity to sunlight. If it gets in the eyes, it can cause blindness.

Avoid touching or even playing near hogweed. If your child comes into contact with the plant, the NHS website advises:

“If you touch a giant hogweed, cover the affected area, and wash it with soap and water. The blisters heal very slowly and can develop into phytophotodermatitis, a type of skin rash which flares up in sunlight. If you feel unwell after contact with giant hogweed, speak to your doctor.”

2. Bluebell

“If eaten, they could cause harm and sickness,” Guy says. “The bulbs could be mistaken for garlic or a spring onion.”

“It has been reported that the sap can cause skin irritation and dermatitis, but I haven’t come across any instances of this actually happening in practice.”

3. Chilli peppers

“Chilli peppers are a tasty vegetable, but as anyone who has chopped up a chilli and rubbed their eye knows, it can be extremely painful,” says Guy.

“They are a skin and eye irritant, they might burn tender skin and can be transferred to eyes and lips on the fingers,” he adds.

“Children could be vulnerable if not taught about avoiding and taking care with washing hands after handling chillis.”

4. Lily-of-the-valley

“This is one of those plants you might find around the garden and mistake for something else, and it’s poisonous if eaten, but you’d have to eat an awful lot of it,” says Guy.

“If eaten, it can cause nausea, vomiting, visual disorders and heart problems,” he explains.

5. Aconitum napellus

Aconitum napellus goes by many other names – including monkshood, wolfsbane, leopard’s bane, mousebane, women’s bane, devil’s helmet, queen of poisons and blue rocket.

This is widely planted, Miranda tells us – ‘”but can be deadly”.

The RHS website confirms that every part of this plant is toxic if eaten.

6. Foxglove

“Foxgloves are well-known to have an effect on the heart,” says Guy

“There’s a material in them called digitoxin, which is actually used in medicines for heart failure, but it can be poisonous if eaten,” says Guy.

“It’s very unwise to eat a foxglove and, bear in mind, the pollen also contains the poisonous material so it’s particularly important to wash anything growing near them, if you grow vegetables, for example, wash before you eat them.”

“If eaten it slows your heart rate down and makes your heart contract in uncoordinated ways and you would have a heart attack,” says Guy.“It is very rare, but it’s important to remember that the potential for harm is there.”

7. Euphorbias also know as spurges (including poinsettia)

“Euphorbias are a very common wild flower and garden plant, and poinsettias are a type of euphorbia that are very widely sold,” says Guy.

“Like all spurges, the sap can be irritant to skin, eyes and lips and needs to be avoided, but there is no risk from the foliage or being in the same room as the plant,” he explains.

“Although not terribly poisonous, it would be unwise to consume the foliage as it can be an extreme irritant,” he adds.

“Euphorbias and garden spurges can be very irritant if ingested, and the white sap can badly irritate the skin. In comparison, Poinsettias, compared with other euphorbias, are still an irritant but relatively mild.”

8. Caster oil plant (Ricinus Communis)

The seeds from the castor been plant are poisonous to people, animals and insects – and so this is one plant Gardeners’ World Magazine’s Miranda suggested we have on the list.

Castor beans contain ricin – one of the most toxic substances known.

There is no specific treatment except for support to reduce the load of the toxin – but it is far better not to eat this plant at all.

  • Read a case of castor bean poisoning on the National Centre for Biotechnology Information website

9. Hyacinth

“The bulbs tend to be skin irritants,” says Guy. “They contain oxalic acid, which is also found in rhubarb, and would give you a stomach upset if you ate them.”

“The are potentially harmful,” says Guy. “The flowers and the foliage are not reported to be bad, but it wouldn’t do you much good if consumed.”

10. Morning Glory

“They contain alkaloids, which can have a toxic effect, and they can also be psychoactive so can cause hallucinations. As a result, you need to be careful of them,” says Guy.

“So be careful of the foliage and the seeds, but there’s nothing reported about skin contact.”

11. Iris

“Irises have the potential to cause harm,” says Guy. “Some of them have interesting seeds and seed pods that may attract the attention of children.”

“It may be wise to pull the seeds off if you have children around as they can be a skin irritant,” he says.

“It’s reported that if ingested, they can cause sickness, nausea and diarrohea, although I haven’t heard of an instance of this happening,” Guy explains.

12. Ivy

“Ivy can cause skin irritation and any part of the plant is potentially harmful,” says Guy. “The seeds look very attractive at the time of year when there aren’t many berries about so they might catch the attention of children,” Guy explains.

“Children shouldn’t touch Ivy, it can cause skin irritation and I would strongly advise against eating the berries,” says Guy. “Eating the berries can cause a burning sensation in the throat and can cause nausea, and eating the foliage can cause a fever.”

13. Horse chestnut

“It’s the seeds that are attractive and kids might be tempted to eat them thinking they are sweet chestnuts,” says Guy.

“Children should be told to enjoy playing with conkers but not to chew on the seeds,” he adds.

“Poisonous when eaten, they can cause sickness, but there’s no harm in touching them so there’s no reason for children not to play conkers with them,” he explains.

“With a plant, unless you’re reasonably well-informed, you can’t be sure if they are safe, so we always say play safe and, if you’re not sure it’s edible, don’t eat it.”

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Darren Aronofsky’s movie Noah (2014) has speculated by mentioning Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), who is the oldest person in the Bible, is Noah’s grandfather. He helps Noah (Russell Crowe) see visions by giving him drugged tea, hands him a seed from the Garden of Eden that somehow becomes a magical forest on the spot, and can cure infertility by touching women’s wombs. He also has a peculiar love for berries. He likes berries a lot. He keeps saying so and finally finds and eats a wild berry before the great flood drowns him at age 969 years.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, usually berry is a small and edible fleshy fruit, juicy, rounded, brightly colored, sweet and sour, do not have a pit, although many seeds may be present. Berry plants can be wild or cultivated by human. The mystery of berries flavour and smell in the universe has been discovered by the scientists. Ethyl formate, which gives raspberries their flavour and smells of rum, has recently been found in deep space. Ethyl formate is formed when an alcohol reacts with formic acid. In nature, formic acid is found in certain ants and naturally occurring component of the atmosphere due primarily to forest emissions.

Most of the berries with aggregate fruits belong to Rosaceae (rose family) e.g. raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, salmonberry, cloudberry, dewberry and cherry. Their close relative is mulberry and they have hybrids such as loganberry, boysenberry, marionberry, tayberry, youngberry etc. Blueberry, cranberry, lingonberry, bilberry, huckleberry are the true berries belong to Ericaceae (heather family). Goji berry or wolfberry belong to Solanaceae (potato family). Indian gooseberry belong to Phyllanthaceae (tropical plants family). Acai berry belong to Arecaceae (palm family). There are much more berries around us and some are poisonous such as holly berry, Jerusalem cherry, ivy berry etc.

Generally, the nutrition facts of most edible berries are very healthy and organic berries appear to be preferable. There are many popular and scientific articles about the benefits of berries. In summary, berries may be helpful in the prevention of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Though berries do not seem to lower cholesterol, they may reduce heart disease risk by keeping our platelets in an inactivated state. Berries have the greatest antioxidant content compared to any other foods. Blackberries, Indian gooseberries, and goji berries rank among the highest in terms of antioxidant levels. Consumption of berries has a protective effect on brain function and improving sleep quality due to the melatonin content. Blueberries have been shown to improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Cranberries in particular may prevent bladder infection. Acai berries may promote immune function and relieve arthritic pain.

How about fuchsia berry, have you ever heard about it? Surely most people know the unique and beautiful color combination of fuchsia flowers. Fuchsia berry is climbing plant like grapevine. Fuchsia plant belongs to Onagraceae (evening primrose family). Fuchsia berry is a new kind of berries since many people don’t know if the fuchsia flowers will produce edible fruits. The taste of fuchsia berry is awesome like the combination of fig and kiwi.

The first photo above is the fuchsia berries, flowers and flower buds from the Fuchsia regia plant that originally is native to Brazil. The image can be zoomed to see the detail of the fuchsia berries. The second photo is the ripe fuchsia berries.

What is amazing and unique about fuchsia berry is that the plant keeps on producing a lot of fruits while it is still producing a lot of flowers and flower buds at the same time. At least there are three requirements which support fuchsia plant to produce the berries. The plant needs excessive sunlight, enough water, and a high quality of compost such as worm castings or vermicompost.

Moreover, hummingbirds and bees are among the pollinators that help to support the production of the fuchsia berries. The pollen grains in this plant are very small and loosely held together by viscin threads. Most hummingbirds and bees cannot collect them, and only hummingbirds and bees with specialized morphologies can effectively pollinate the flowers. Nearly all hummingbirds and bees taxa that visit the fuchsia flowers are oligoleges; specialized only on the fuchsia family for the pollination. Coevolution is a wonderful natural selection in nature.

Please visit our website at http://www.burnabyredwigglers.com to speed-up the flowering and fruiting of your fuchsia berry and other berries using the high quality of worm castings or vermicompost available in your location. If you have never tasted fuchsia berry, contact us to taste it while it is still available.

– Bintoro Gunadi

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