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Ficus Benjamina (Weeping Fig) is a popular house plant. The leaves and sap are generally considered toxic. However, I found conflicting information about the fruit.

Some sources claim the fruit is not toxic:

Others claim that it is:

  • Die Früchte der Ficus Benjamini"Die Früchte besitzen leicht giftige Inhaltsstoffe, welche zwar keine schweren gesundheitsschädlichen Folgen verursachen, jedoch unangenehm auf den Magen schlagen können." – English: "The fruits contain mildly toxic substances. They do not cause severe health problems, but may upset the stomach."
  • Mein schöner Garten – Birkenfeige "Früchte [...] die jedoch wie alle Pflanzenteile der Birkenfeige schwach giftig sind. Ihr Verzehr kann Übelkeit, Durchfall und krampfartige Magenschmerzen auslösen." – English: "Fruits [...] which however are mildly toxic, like all parts of the plant. Their ingestion may cause nausea, diarrhea and cramp-like abdominal pain."

So what is it about the fruit?

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  • I don't see any contradiction among these sources. They all seem consistent with the idea that the fruit does not taste good and may make you mildly ill, but will not kill you. Whether you call that "toxic" is subjective; it's not a term with a precise objective definition, as far as I know. Also, the word "poisonous" in your title is a different thing from "toxic", and none of your sources claim the fruit is poisonous. Sep 1, 2023 at 7:11
  • @NateEldredge: That sounds like an answer :-)
    – sleske
    Sep 1, 2023 at 8:55
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    I don't think it is, actually. What I'm saying is that I don't see a notable claim at all in the question, or at least not any that you seem to really doubt. Sep 1, 2023 at 14:00
  • I had the same thought as Nate Eldredge: there's no contradiction here, so nothing to answer. The "inedible" in one source is surely describing the same symptoms as "mildly toxic" in another, and reserving "toxic" for more extreme levels of toxicity.
    – IMSoP
    Sep 3, 2023 at 9:23
  • I've just realised that this isn't even about English usage, it's about translation - you've translated the German "giftig" as "toxic", and decided that contrasts with an English source saying "non-toxic", rather than agreeing with "inedible". I'm voting to close as not containing a notable claim.
    – IMSoP
    Sep 3, 2023 at 10:16

1 Answer 1

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This seems to come down to the precise definition of "edible".

Apparently, the fruit is not really poisonous (in the sense of causing serious health problems), but it can upset the stomach, and does not taste nice, so no one eats them. Thus, depending on point of view they are either "mildly toxic" or just "not nice to eat".

However, in practice this is not really relevant - because no one is likely to eat them anyway.

As one article puts it:

Its fruits are nonedible and considered ‘waste’ with no defined application.

I think that's a nice summary.

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  • I agree that the question seems to hung up on definitions, but you claim "Apparently, the fruit is not really poisonous" - says who? This is the crux of the claim, so it needs a reference.
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 4, 2023 at 7:38

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