This evening while out and about the hillside, I picked up a delightful aroma. Now I knew that the Bayou was not smelling wonderful..mud just doesn't have the scent that I would ever imagine as pleasant but something sure had a nice smell about it. As I was looking about, I noticed that the Gallberry Bush was covered with tiny, white flowers. It was already loaded with many, many berries but there were still lots of blooms as well. These blooms were abuzz with a huge swarm of honeybees! They were attracted to the sweet-smelling flowers just like I was! It appeared that there was to be a bumper crop of the berries this summer and Pop's voice rattled my brain..."Don't eat the Gallberries! They will give you a bellyache!" Ok..ok! I promise I won't eat those Gallberries!
I pondered the fact of the Gallberries and the Bellyache. Are these things really that toxic? I looked it up when I got back to the Little Bayou House and, yep, they are! The Gallberry, also known as the Inkberry or Ilex Glabra belongs in the Holly family. Well, that explains it! This is definitely not a Blueberry nor a Huckleberry and I would never eat a Holly berry! The bush in question does make me happy though as a few of the birds that overwinter here feast on the bush. Plus, its compact foliage makes the perfect nesting site for a Mockingbird pair! When I saw the nest, I backed away as I did not want to disturb Mama Bird. Then another thought passed through my head...I am sure glad Pop took the time to teach me about plants! It is nice to walk through the woods and be able to identify most trees or bushes and to know which are poisonous. The Gallberry bush can keep its berries and I will search on for the Huckleberries! Pop would be proud that I did not get that bellyache!