This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


 I get a seed catalog called "an Ethnobotanical catalog of seeds" and every year I drool over all the plants I wish I could grow in my garden. Every year I try to buy some seeds of Wild Edible or Medicinal Plants that I have not heard of or seen before. A couple of years ago I bought some seeds for a plant called Wonderberry. The description spoke of Edible fruits and prolific growth and as it is a plant that would grow in my area I figured I'd give it a try. The problem with this catalog is the lack of photos, it does have some line drawings of some plants but for the most part there is just a description. So, Spring came around and I tossed some seeds in a newly tilled garden just to see what would happen.
 I don't always get a chance to keep my gardens "weed" free and as it turns out this Wonderberry plant, being a Nightshade, resembles other Nightshades that you don't want to eat. So I steered clear of it for sometime, not even realizing it was the plant that I planted. Being busy I didn't get a chance to spend as much time with the plant as I would have liked so I really couldn't get a feeling for it. Finally toward the end of the season, about this same time that year, the fruits began to turn a dark blue/black that I notice that the fruits were different than any Nightshade I had seen before. There were also tiny white and yellow typical Nightshade shaped flowers on the plant that I had never seen before. Just going by gut feeling, I decided to try a couple of the ripe berries to see if I would die or get sick, luckily neither one happened! (by the way I don't recommend testing Wild Edibles this way) Well since I didn't die, I decided to spend some time learning about this new plant to see if I was right. Turns out it was the Wonderberry after all.
  Well, I now have Wonderberry growing all over, in almost all of my gardens and around my Chicken coops etc. A prolific plant to say the least. Some photos below will show you the Wonderberry I have growing. These are only meant to give a basic familiarization of the plant. Remember there are alot of toxic and poisonous Nightshades out there and many of them look very similar to one another so be careful and be 100% sure of your ID before trying any of them. Even with some edible Nightshades, like this one, the edible fruits are toxic when they are not ripe. The photos show the difference between ripe and unripe berries, don't eat the green berries!

Flowers and Green Berries

Green and Ripe Berries

Ripe and Safe to Eat
  One of the distinguishing characteristics of this plant is that 
the leaf extends all the way down the 
petiole, on both sides, to the stem.


  1. What an interesting plant! I would have certainly have written this plant off as a poisonous nightshade -- the resemblance is uncanny! I am glad you didn't get sick from eating the berries. Sometimes I get really nervous about trying things that I am positive are safe but have never tried before, too. :) Do the plants produce enough berries to make, say, jams or jellies with? Also, if you could try to describe their flavor, what would you say they taste like? The dark berries are beautiful!

  2. A good size plant puts out alot of berries though they are maximum 1/4in. The taste is like nothing I have ever tasted before, hard to describe. I have read that lots of people make jams etc with them. Read the description in the "Ethnobotanical Catalog of Seeds" where I got them: http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/SeedlistSI-SZ.htm
    I highly recommend getting this catalog, You will be like a kid in a candy store while reading it.

  3. Heh, I am sure I will be!! That's how I get with my Horizon Herbs seed catalog -- medicinal herbs galore! :)