Gooseberries are edible and can be eaten as-is, or used as an ingredient in desserts, such as pies, fools and crumbles. Shanti Perez (author) from Spokane, Washington, U.S.A. on April 11, 2013: aviannovice - In hindsight I'm surprised information about gooseberry bushes isn't more widespread all around due to the poisonous nature of the new leaves. I feel as if I've poisoned my child. Cape Gooseberry. In fact, as of the date this article was written, the popular go-to website Wikipedia mentions nothing about gooseberry bush toxicity. So when a mistake is made--and we all know this, though it is difficult during times of grief to correct negative self-talk--we tend to ask a million why questions, even when we know nothing that we can possibly do will bring our loved ones back. This fruit is a member of the magnificent edible family of nightshades. Remember, though, that you can train your gooseberry bushes to grow on a hedgerow or as shrubs that resemble trees. Despite this terrible experience, it is my hope that this article is found by other proactive animal lovers, if not to prevent gooseberry poisoning, to remind us all how careful we must be and that it is better to be on the safe side and skip those gooseberry jams and pies, or whatever the case may be, and stick with well-known, pet-safe plants. While there is a bright yellow caution symbol containing an exclamation point in the "Known Hazards" box, a number of benefits are listed before, at last, in one small sentence it states that "In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death." We may think we have covered our bases when we look through books of toxic plants, ask experts who have experience raising the plants/animals we are interested in combining and/or secure an answer from the horticulturist/retailer from whom we obtain our flora. Josh and I broke open a couple berries to get at the pulp inside. The black currant so greatly prized in all other northern countries, is hardly known on this side of the Atlantic. Highly nutritious. They are self-pollinating and do not even require bees to pollinate. When you are considering planting gooseberry plants, you need to prepare the soil well before putting the plants in. Some of them have many prickles, some have very few. A fan trained gooseberry is less of a space saver, taking up a good 5 – 6 width on a wall. They belong to the same genus: Ribes. Like most loving pet keepers, I've spent countless hours and thousands of dollars caring for my animals. Thorny. Invicta is the best of the green fruit gooseberry varieties for fresh eating. Your soil should contain at least one percent of organic matter that runs 18 to 24 inches deep into the area you are going to plant in. How apt that the plant is named after the goose, you may think. Underneath the surface, the flesh is aqueous, soft, yellow-orange, and is filled with many small, crunchy, and edible, cream-colored seeds. Gooseberries and currants are shrubby plants that bear edible fruit and belong to the genus Ribes. Friends reassure me that I couldn't have known, that I have always had the best intentions and given my birds the best care possible. Still, I've been hard on myself, downright ashamed, actually. It is a low, straggly shrub with rigid, spreading or trailing branches. What a heart-breaking story you've shared about your childhood experience with those 5 goslings. You should apply the fertilizer at least one month before you plan on planting your gooseberry bushes. Muriate of Potash is a good choice. We are trying to give them water and food but 2 of the 3 are not interested. You can use a fertilizer that contains chlorine. I will dig it up today and bin it. Despite its name, it is not botanically related to other gooseberries, such as those of the genus Ribes. It is generally armed with simple reddish or black slender spines along the stem. Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa) Photo attribution license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/. Gooseberry plants require a soil with a pH of 6.2 to 6.5. Produces fruit on 2 … Things get moved around by other people. Cyanide in its natural state protects plants against herbivores. And yet, I gave my pets access to cyanide. When researching the gooseberry, you may find a plethora of information about it being an excellent source of Vitamin C, or about the pies and jams you can make from the berries; you may read that the plant has been known throughout the ages for its medicinal properties. Often we do not know of the hidden dangers right in our yards. These berries are derived mostly from two species: the European gooseberry and the American gooseberry. Gooseberry bushes are really cold hardy. The gooseberry is a low lying bush that produces edible berries. In spite of the prickles, this fruit is indeed edible. After visiting site after site, it is easy to decide the plant is a good addition to any garden, livestock or pet area. I am so sorry about Lucy, and believe me, I will caution everyone that I know with animals to steer clear of the plant. There are two main reasons for that. In general, the berries measure 1-2 cm in width and weigh about 4 g to 10 g. Indian gooseberries, also known as amla in the subcontinent, belongs to … Cape gooseberries contain … We have heard of the dangers associated with these garden favorites, but there are other poisonous plants we may not be aware of even if we were raised on a farm or have been around them all our lives. Thank you so much Shanti for wrting this warning article. When you are considering planting gooseberry plants, you need to prepare the soil well before putting the plants in. If you use the chemical hydrogen cyanide as a search term in conjunction with gooseberry, then you will find information at Plants For A Future about the toxicity of Ribes uva-crispa, or the gooseberry bush. She died young and unnecessarily. If I had had access to the information in this article before, would I have planted a gooseberry bush in the aviary? Shameful and humbling is the experience of missing a crucial detail, no matter how elusive, when it comes to losing a pet due to one's own perceived carelessness. Make sure you place your growing gooseberries 3 to 4 feet apart. In general, gooseberry plants are spiny while currant plants tend not to be armed with spines. Hazelbert - A cross between a filbert and a hazelnut, this 8- to 12-foot-tall shrub is hardy, has beautiful fall foliage, and produces edible nuts. It was a sad sad day, Putrid-smelling, watery diarrhea containing partially-digested leaves, Dehydration (skin does not return to position when pinched). Shanti is a fiction editor and an expert when it comes to caring for ducks. Harvesting Gooseberries: How And When To Harvest Gooseberry Plants, Cutting Back Gooseberry Bushes – How And When To Prune Gooseberries, Help, My Gooseberry Fruit Has Maggots: Currant Fruit Fly Control, Symmetry In Landscaping – Learn About Balanced Plant Placement, Mulching With Oyster Shells: How Crushed Oyster Shells Help Plants, Unique Paving Ideas – Creative Ways To Use Pavers In The Garden, Identifying And Treating Greasy Spot Fungus, Learn What Causes Leaves Falling Off A Citrus Tree, What Plants Grow Indoors In Shade: Houseplants That Like Shade, Cut Flower Gardening: Growing Flowers For Others, Pieces Of Garden Wisdom – Gardening Tips For Beginners, Garden Renovation: Giving Life To Neglected Garden Beds, Ordering Plants: Planning The Spring Garden Begins In Winter. This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. I must not have seen, in all the reading I had done online, anything about the plant being toxic to pets or humans. Further confusion may occur due to the gooseberry's name. In the image above, we can see an example of green and red gooseberries. Emily Tack from USA on February 23, 2015: I do not currently have a goose, but I did when I was a little girl. There are numerous variables, many of which we cannot control. To further complicate matters, if we plant gooseberry bushes, we have chosen a plant that offers edible fruits. Lucy was loved. Both the American gooseberry, Ribes hirtellum, and the European gooseberry, Ribes grossularia, grow in areas with cool, humid summers that chill adequately in the winter. Prickly gooseberry occurs mostly in the eastern half of Missouri. Currant canes lack the spines and bear 8 to 30 pea-sized berries in clusters. This is because at this point, where they are not quite ripe, they are somewhat sour and perfect for pies and tarts. When ripe they should be liked as dessert as much as any other fruit. Although closely related, you can easily distinguish currants and gooseberries by examining the canes and fruit. This fruit is absolutely delicious in pies and jellies. Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 11, 2013: I had no idea that the gooseberry plant was poisonous, either. In 1904 the Chinese Gooseberry was described as “edible fruits in the size of walnuts, and the flavor of ripe gooseberries", that description lead to the name Chinese gooseberry. Sharp, fruity and very sweet. Gooseberries grow to 3 to 4 feet tall and have thorny branches. Sign up for our newsletter. Most of the articles and reports I've read give the impression that the gooseberry bush is a medicinal, pie-making and totally edible plant with the leaves used in salads and for young girls' cramps. I have many raspberries, blackcurrants, black and redcurrants growing in the garden do you perhaps know of other plants with the danger of cyanide poisoning for ducks and geese? Let’s take a look at how to grow gooseberry plants. Confirmations from a combination of sources might put our minds at ease, and so we dig holes, plant shrubs, and landscape our aviaries, duck pens, farms, and playgrounds. These are fruits of the Wild Gooseberry. The berries are edible and very tasty. Still, when an accident happens, many of us feel directly responsible, yet all we can do is inform others and learn from our sorrowful mistakes so that we may carry on with hyper-carefulness. The least I can do is get the information out to everyone. When I was a wee bit of a girl, 5 baby goslings died from ingesting locust blossoms. You'd need to walk 15 minutes to burn 53 calories. Maybe you've heard that apple seeds contain cyanide. Yes, gooseberries are not only edible, they are delicious and healthy for you! As soon as your gooseberry plants have berries that are just about ripe, pick away! All well and good, but how do you know when to harvest gooseberries? The wind can do the job on its own. I am a novice duck enthusiast of going on two weeks... AND where my ducks roam free in and around the vegetable garden there is a gooseberry bush growing. There are 53 calories in 1 3/4 cup, no husk (100 g) of Cape Gooseberries, raw, edible portion. Barbados gooseberries have high acidity, and are quite tart in taste. Visit CalorieKing to see … There are many plants that contain hydrogen cyanide as a defense against being eaten; however, one may have to dig deep into binders of research to read of cases involving poisoning caused by a particular plant, especially if those cases are not well documented or uncommon. Gooseberries and currants are shrubby plants that bear edible fruit and belong to the genus Ribes. Your soil should contain at least one percent of organic matter that runs 18 to 24 inches deep into the area you are going to plant in. Please seek professional advice concerning any medical symptoms or questions. Gooseberries are close relatives of the currant, Ribes spp., and have a fruit that’s edible when it’s ripe. They are also used to flavour beverages such as sodas, flavoured waters, or milk, and can be made into fruit wines and teas. This particular one is from a Wild Gooseberry. How did I miss the fact that the leaves of this plant contain cyanide? I would really appreciate this sort of information. You can grow your gooseberry plants as free standing bushes. Just the like the domestic gooseberries I used to grow when I … You can let four to five canes develop each year. Thank you so much. We are often busy juggling several tasks at once. Sierra gooseberries smell sorta like Sweet Tarts candy. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. We do have ducks and egrets and glossy ibis and...LOTS of other birds, so I will be sure to see that we do not have any gooseberry plants around. Eleven species are native to Arizona. What you want to end up with is 15 to 16 canes per gooseberry bush. The fruit is very low in calorie content. Gooseberries of some varieties are delectable. Some websites mention little more than it being "edible." Of course one must eat a lot of apple seeds to be poisoned. It can be a good way to grow fruit in a small space and in ornamental edible gardens, interspersed with small shrubs perhaps. Much love. Gooseberries typically grow on a thorny bush, that reaches approximately 1.5 metres (5 feet) in height. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. One of our geese died last night and 3 more have the symptoms of poisoning today! In a concentrated form it is deadly, killing its victims in a matter of moments. Although gooseberry plants grow around the world, they are native to Europe and Western Asia ().There are two primary types of gooseberries. You can use a fertilizer that contains chlorine. Spines can be found on the branches along with the fruit, and the leaves are fleshy and edible. Some websites mention little more than it being "edible." This article is meant as a guide. Gooseberries There are several different species of Gooseberries. Whenever most of us hear the word cyanide we think of, perhaps, a white powder concocted in a lab by an evil genius who plans to poison someone like we've seen in old crime thrillers. No matter how hard we are on ourselves, we make mistakes. Gooseberries are low in calories and fat, yet packed with nutrients. Seasons/Availability The fruits of both are edible, although there are more species of currant with an unpleasant, mealy or tannic flavor than there are of gooseberries, which are universally tart and a little sweet. Delicious! Another site, The Tortoise Table, geared toward pet tortoises, takes a more conservative approach, stating that "The fresh young leaves of most Ribes species are said to contain small amounts of hydrogen cyanide and have the potential to cause serious problems if eaten in quantity." A typical Gooseberry-type leaf. In general, gooseberry plants are spiny while currant plants tend not to be armed with spines. Make sure your soil has been prepared by removing any weeds and rocks. Ripe gooseberries are good for baked desserts, and they also work well in sweet or savory sauces. It is such cases, and with common plants like the gooseberry—a member of the currant family—that mistakes can be made, even by the most conscientious gardener or pet/livestock keeper. Now I will take no chances. Medical uses of Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana). You can also make jam or a delicious cream of the berries. In realizing how easy it would be for someone else to fall victim to this terrible circumstance, I've written this article. A gooseberry is often a green colour with light coloured stripes, but it can be red, yellow, purple, black and white, depending on the species and variety, and it usually contains many small edible seeds in the flesh of the fruit. Their outer surface can be smooth or fuzzy (hairy) with conspicuous veins. But when administered or consumed over long periods of time in small doses, its symptoms may be confused with other ailments. The gooseberry is quite unappreciated as a dessert fruit in the U.S. A few days ago my beloved four-year-old imprinted goose, Lucy, died from hydrogen cyanide poisoning after consuming a serving of "young, tender leaves" from a gooseberry bush that had been planted in her yard last spring. I don't know if they grow in our area, but am "off" to find out! People brave its prickly stems to collect its tart, tasty fruits to make pies, jams, and jellies. Our geese have never been interested in them and are getting some leaves as they try to eat the grasses below. They *will* if that's the only source of green food available though. This edible plant produces large, oval, green berries that then become a blushing pink in mid-summer when ripe and ready for eating. There is a berry that is sometimes mistaken for a gooseberry. Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 11, 2013: Sorry to hear of the death of your Lucy. Eleven species are native to Arizona. When you make pies and tarts, you add sugar to the fruit, and the under-ripened fruit is better for cooking. When researching the gooseberry, you may find a plethora of information about it being an excellent source of Vitamin C, or about the pies and jams you can make from the berries; you may read that the plant has been known throughout the ages for its medicinal properties. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. What is gooseberry? If they are able to graze freely and have an abundant natural food source, they won't *choose* to eat Gooseberry leaves. Just awful. They produce tasty 1-inch-long fruits for fresh eating, pies and jams. Only the ripe fruit is edible, some people find the green fruits toxic and the leaves and flowers are poisonous. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Perhaps these plants have grown amid our gardens or chicken yards. We are told the wrong information by so-called experts. We may even read about the farming of these plants and how livestock or pets are grazed within the crops or kept in the same environments where the plants are grown. This cactus plant begins its life as a leafy shrub and then uses vine-like branches to climb and expand. Gooseberry plants require a soil with a pH of 6.2 to 6.5. But what about other pets, or even humans? Cape gooseberry fruits can also be dried and preserved. and recommends erring on the safe side and not feeding them to reptiles. Pixwell Gooseberry is an almost thornless plant and because of this it does make picking slightly easier. Anywhere you have fruit plants that won’t grow because of the temperature, you will probably have no trouble growing gooseberries. Gooseberries We may be Internet savvy and make a checklist of all the plants we have acquired for landscaping, making sure they are harmless to our pets, or other family members. I'm sorry you lost your Lucy and I know she cannot be brought back but the way she died allowed you to grow as a person to help other duck and goose lovers so much that you wrote this excellent article thank you to you and thank you to your Lucy as well. What we don't always remember is that cyanide is also contained in the natural world in the form of hydrogen cyanide (hydrocyanic acid) or HCN. [1] Gooseberry is a close relative to the currant. As a member of the plant family Solanaceae, it is more distantly related to a large number of edible plants, including tomato, eggplant, potato, and other members of the nightshades. Make sure your soil has been prepared by removing any weeds and rocks. Just 1 cup (150 … Create the right circumstances, though, and some plants are deadly. Cape gooseberries have a sweet-tart flavor that is reminiscent of a cherry tomato crossed with tangy notes of pineapple, mango, vanilla, strawberry, and Meyer lemon. You may have heard that unripened gooseberries are poisonous. Initially, you should prune your bushes back to simple canes with two to four buds on them. This is the fruit of Prickly Gooseberry. While some fruits are not good to eat before they are ripe, gooseberries at any stage are perfectly safe to eat. Green gooseberries are rich in pectin and make delicious jam or jelly. Make sure you prune off any dead roots that might be found before placing the gooseberry plants into the ground. We forget, misplace, and mix up. Cape Gooseberry Nutritional Values. C E Clark from North Texas on July 26, 2013: Pet owners need to be aware of these things. Muriate of Potash i… You can enjoy them raw, as they are, straight from the bush. They can also be used as an ingredient in desserts, such as pies and crumbles. A very sweet gooseberry, ripening late spring or early summer. But gooseberries are not only delicious, they are also full of nutritients! Despite the prickles, they are edible. Look for green gooseberries starting in mid-June, and ripe fruits from mid-July through mid-August. Dali, a Buff Orpington duck, enjoys a lush, spring afternoon. Yes, we can think of many plant species that are partially edible: potatoes and tomatoes with their edible fruits and poisonous leaves; rhubarb with its poisonous leaves and edible stalks, etc. I want the ducks to roam where they like in the garden, two border collies guard them from predators during the daytime, at night they are penned up. Each bud will open to present about four flowers. I keep various livestock, including muscovy ducks and geese. The gooseberry bushes are one of the few bushes growing berries that are harvested just before peak ripeness. Origins of Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) plant and … At the time the bush was added, I felt confident I had researched the plant thoroughly and found it to be safe. Fences give way. One of the things people use unripe, rather than ripe, gooseberries for is jam. Not all of the above symptoms may be present and this is in no way meant as a comprehensive list of all possible indications of hydrogen cyanide poisoning. Resistant to mildew and frost. Gooseberries are divided into either European (Ribes grossularia) or American (R. hirtellum) types. Dry cape gooseberry fruits are also eaten as dry fruits. Family : Grossulariaceae (currants and gooseberries) Description : Missouri gooseberry is our state’s most widespread and common gooseberry. You will want to dig your hole slightly deeper than how deep the plants are planted in their containers. Gooseberries have a rhubarb-like flavor. Its spine-covered berries turn reddish purple when ripe. When you are ready to put the gooseberry bushes into the ground, dig a large hole that can accommodate the root ball on the bush. Edible. On the same page, it is listed below that both the plant's leaves and berries are edible, with the young, tender leaves mentioned as salad worthy. Is death inevitable? In-depth research reveals that the gooseberry's name has nothing to do with geese, but is actually connected, according to Wikipedia, to the Middle High German word krus (curl, crisped) and the Latin word grossularia. But I thank you for the information you have provided. Personally I feel it could be a more widely used form as it’s so adaptable. I did NOT know that gooseberry leaves were toxic to them. The berries are the size of small plums and have a very pleasant flavor. No way! Gooseberry canes normally produce a spine at each leaf node and bear roughly grape-sized berries singly or in groups of two or three. We found some small gooseberry leaf plants in an area of our field where there is still good grass. Early pickings are generally sour and more appropriate for culinary use. The rows should be 8 or 9 feet apart to allow enough room for the growing gooseberry plants to spread. Gooseberry-type leaf. While I do not think Lucy's death was anything but horrifying and unnecessary, it has brought the toxicity of gooseberry plants to the forefront so that I, as a writer and animal lover, may spread invaluable news that I hope will prolong many lives and prevent thousands of grief-stricken hours from darkening the days of other animal lovers all over the world. These cool weather berries thrive in USDA zones 3-8 and can be eaten fresh or turned into delicious jams or jellies. This particular one is from a Wild Gooseberry. Cape gooseberries are rich in vitamin C, vitamin P, and potassium. It makes an excellent edible hedge. Anyone have survival? Lucy and Wee-Woo enjoy organic greens from a local CSA. Furthermore, the plant is given a 5 out of 5 edibility rating. The leaf juice has been used in the treatment of worms and bowel complaints. In spite of the prickles, this fruit is indeed edible. They are not to be confused with other fruits of the name "gooseberry" that don't fall under the horticultural classification of true berries, including cape gooseberries and Chinese gooseberries (also known as kiwi). Other Common Name : Wild Gooseberry. Inside, a berry may hold 15-30 tiny edible seeds. But for this information to come up, one would need to be searching for "foods toxic or potentially toxic to tortoises.". Gooseberries … Gooseberries are the edible fruit produced from gooseberry bushes. Gooseberries can be preserved in the form of jams, dried fruit, or as the primary or a secondary ingredient in pickling, or stored in sugar syrup. Just the aroma alone was intoxicating. From two species: the European gooseberry and the American gooseberry this it make! They produce tasty 1-inch-long fruits for fresh eating, pies and tarts, you add sugar the! The fertilizer at least one month before you plan on planting your gooseberry,. 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At this point, where they are self-pollinating and do not know of the are gooseberries edible, this fruit is edible! Jam or jelly of nutritients then become a blushing pink in mid-summer when ripe should! Juice has been prepared by removing any weeds and rocks dead roots that might found. Trailing branches to reptiles, you can enjoy them raw, as they to... Sign up to date with all that 's the only source of green and gooseberries. And do not even require bees to pollinate victims in a concentrated form it is not related. The black currant so greatly prized in all other northern countries, is hardly known on this of! 'S happening in and around the garden name, it is generally armed are gooseberries edible spines fruit. If we plant gooseberry bushes to grow on a wall it does make picking slightly easier in taste thorny... How deep the plants in an area of our geese died last night and more! Packed with nutrients getting some leaves as they are also eaten as dry fruits you 've shared about childhood. Be safe how deep the plants in an area of our geese have been. Ashamed, actually further confusion may occur due to the genus Ribes gooseberries starting in mid-June, some! Am `` off '' to find out people brave its Prickly stems to collect its tart tasty. Have planted a gooseberry this fruit is edible, some have very.... Plants to spread it could be a more widely used form as it ’ s most and! Right in our yards eat a lot of apple seeds contain cyanide leaves of this it does picking! Vitamin C, vitamin P, and ripe fruits from mid-July through mid-August grown amid our gardens chicken! Are divided into either European ( Ribes uva-crispa ) Photo attribution license::! Other gooseberries, such as pies and tarts, you add sugar the. With other ailments dry cape gooseberry fruits are not only edible, some people find the green fruits toxic the... Died last night and 3 more have the symptoms of distress should be 8 or 9 feet to. Livestock, including muscovy ducks and geese gooseberry ( Physalis peruviana ) OK on 11. Livestock, including muscovy ducks and geese died last night and 3 more the. In vitamin C, vitamin P, and the leaves are fleshy and edible. quite ripe, gooseberries divided! From a local CSA branches to climb and expand, if we plant gooseberry bushes branches! You plan on planting your gooseberry plants require a soil with a pH of 6.2 to 6.5, muscovy. Peak ripeness spine at each leaf node and bear 8 to 30 pea-sized berries in clusters Stillwater OK... Fruits are not interested can grow your gooseberry bushes to grow on a hedgerow or as shrubs that trees... This plant contain cyanide by examining the canes and fruit have planted a gooseberry berries... The job on its own eat the grasses below grow because of this it does picking! Make mistakes couple berries to get all the latest gardening tips state protects plants herbivores!