Strange berries are growing in Hawaii – And locals are asking whether they’re edible or not

August 30, 2023 by No Comments

Hawaii is known for its tropical climate which often brings an array of unique and unusual wild foods. Recently, an Instagram post highlighted a group of red berries that had apparently started to appear across the island during the summer. This naturally got people asking whether these berries are edible, or whether they pose a threat to humans.

Firstly, we should clarify that these berries are known as Ardisia crenata and have been growing in Hawaii for thousands of years. Although they look appealing with their vibrant colors, you probably shouldn’t eat them – and here is why. Firstly, eating Ardisia crenata will not kill you. In other words, it’s not deadly or horribly poisonous. However, that still doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to consume it either.


In short, these berries are known for giving people stomach cramps and potential diarrhea. Basically, eating these isn’t a good idea, albeit doing so won’t kill you. If nothing else, this is a cautionary tale to always practice common sense and restraint when approaching wild foods.

Interestingly, a number of Hawaiian-grown foods aren’t good to eat, so if you want to play it safe then it’s always best to assume the worst rather than ignorantly eating food without doing research beforehand. With this in mind, if you do happen to stumble across these while hiking, you can appreciate their beauty but eating them isn’t a wise decision. On a positive note, Hawaii does have its fair share of strawberry guava and java plums to eat without fear of reprisals.


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