California Coffeeberry berries – don’t eat them!

Cathleen Crosby photographed a CA Coffeeberry bush with berries in various stages of ripeness.

california-coffeeberries-by-cathleen-crosbyWhen I researched these berries on Wikipedia, I read they were used for making jam and such, and the bean inside the berry could be used to make a coffee-like drink. This prompted a discussion with botanist Peter Baye as to whether the bean inside the berry could be used as a coffee substitute. Peter wrote, “It’s medicinal, not a coffee substitute! Woe unto the drinker.” Peter sent me information that the Kashaya Pomo used the bark, or a small number of berries, as a laxative. The bark and berries were also used as an emetic, to counteract poisoning.

So we'll leave these beautiful berries alone. Some birds do eat them, with apparently no harmful side affects!

Thanks to Cathleen for allowing me to share her photo with you here.

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