by Kurt
(McGregor )

Are the flowers edible?

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Feb 03, 2022
Interesting question on Numnum blossoms.
by: Caroline

Dear Kurt

Such an interesting question, and a chance to broaden one's plant knowledge is always welcome. I struggled to find an answer. Some referred to the leaves being poisonous, and Wikipedia has another story entirely. They claim that suggestions that all parts of the plant other than the fruit are poisonous are based on erroneous comparisons to other plants with white sap. I dug into their references a bit and Wiki refers to a plant profile on Floridata, plant 875, claiming the toxicity of the plant, and the University of Pretoria claiming the converse; that its sap is non toxic and harmless, unlike that of other plants in the group : https://web.archive.org/web/20140908091743/http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=19374&subid=19374. Wiki also mentions that the University of California Agriculture Department claims the rest of the plant is mildly toxic in their poisonous plants list, with a toxicity class of 2. Carissa macrocarpa is mentioned, but not C. bispinosa. C.macrocarpa is grown commercially in California. I know this, that if you are pricked by the thorns it can burn for days. Perhaps we can both break new ground by testing the flowers very cautiously, starting with very tiny amounts. I have just eaten half of one petal of a blossom. It is faintly sour, slightly spongy, with an unpleasant mildly burning aftertaste, otherwise unremarkable... thus far. You can check in with me in a few days to see if I'm still around, if you're interested.

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