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Pheasant Berry

Edible Edible Autumn Autumn Summer Summer

The Pheasant Berry was brought over by the Victorians from the Himalayas or South West China and has toffee tasting berries when ripe but are dreadful and very bitter before then.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Pheasant Berry, Himalayan Honeysuckle, Flowering Nutmeg, Himalyan Nutmeg
Scientific Name Leycesteria formosa
Season Start Jul
Season End Oct
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

Dark green, usually with wavy edges and in pairs opposite each other along the stem.

Flowers

Small, white, trumpet shaped flowers growing in pendulous racemes covered in purple bracts.

Fruit

When ripe the berries are dark brown/purple to almost black and are found under the purple flower bracts.

Habitat

Mainly in formal gardens but can be found self seeded in the wild.

Possible Confusion

Pheasant Berry is a very distinctive looking plant that would be hard to confuse with any other.

Taste

When fully ripe the berries taste of toffee or lightly burned sugar but if not yet ripe the berries are nasty tasting and very bitter.

Frequency

Uncommon in the wild.

Collecting

The berries are ripe when they easily burst while trying to pick them.

COMMENTS

7 comments for Pheasant Berry

  1. Gill Brearley says:

    I understand that pheasant berries, although palatable and safe for humans, are poisonous to dogs?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Hi Gill, I can find no information about the berries toxicity to dogs but it not mentioned in the Dogs Trust list of poisonous garden plants.
      See Dogs Trust
      There is however some reports of poisoned cattle in Asia.

      1. Chris says:

        My dog spent yesterday afternoon illicitly scoffing berries. He spent yesterday evening throwing up the seeds. no dinner, but otherwise fine.

  2. Trevor Bending says:

    Can you cook them (like blackberries for example)?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      I’ve cooked them while making a sweet sauce and added them to mixed fruit leathers, there is no reason you can’t treat them like any other berry.

  3. Donna Clark says:

    A lovely plant and very attractive to wildlife. Blackbirds absolutely love the berries, jumping up to get the lower ones and preforming acrobatics to reach the highest ones. Bullfinches love the seeds.

  4. Sandy says:

    Hi I have had them for years and even put several in my neighbours garden for them . I have had several cats and they have never never touched them . I am giving someone some seedlings for their garden now and asked are they poisoness to cats . I have been lucky with my 9 cats if they are . Does anyone know please. Thanks

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