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J20160714-0011—Frangula californica—RPBG | by John Rusk
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J20160714-0011—Frangula californica—RPBG

Frangula californica—California coffeeberry. These berries will turn black as they ripen. People can, if they wish, extract the 2 or 3 seeds (stones) from several ripe berries to dry and then grind for a drink prepared as if it was coffee. The taste, I read, is more tea- than coffee-like. It may also cause a few people to vomit. The bark of the tree once used by Native Americans as a laxative has entered the United State Pharmacopeia and is available at herbal medicines shops. Some eat the flesh of the berries with no ill effects, but first time users are advised to do their tasting somewhere near a rest room. As always, people are cautioned that foraging is prohibited on all public lands. Photographed at Regional Parks Botanic Garden located in Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley, CA.

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Taken on July 14, 2016