Posted on August 29th, 2019
Nature is beautiful and full of wonder but that doesn’t mean that everything out there is ok to eat. Before you go on that camping or hiking trip take the time to know what you can and cannot eat. It could just end up saving your life.
Yews are a popular ornamental shrub in the U.S. but what most people don’t realize is that every part of this plant is poisonous, especially the seeds, which can pass through you safely without being digested. The plant contains a host of toxic chemicals such as taxin, ephedrine, and cyanogenic glycoside. After ingesting this plant death can happen suddenly within a few hours. Symptoms can range from none to staggering, coldness, and a weak pulse.
When you think of mistletoe it probably brings to mind images of Christmas and lovers kissing under it. What you might not know is that this holiday staple is actually toxic if eaten. In the wild, mistletoe grows as a parasitic plant, meaning it grows on the sides of trees and absorbs water and nutrients by tapping into the host. The berries aren’t too toxic but if eaten in large numbers you could experience convulsions, blurred vision, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Whether it’s poison ivy, English ivy, or Boston ivy, the berries of these plants can be highly toxic if eaten by mammals. Birds love these fruits, however, which makes ivy a popular garden plant for bird lovers. The berries of most ivy plants contain tiny sharp crystals that cause pain and swelling in the lips, face, tongue, and skin.
This enormous plant is popular on the east coast and has been marching slowly westward in recent years. It grows in open areas and in disturbed soils such as roadsides, gardens, pastures, and fencerows. It can grow up to ten feet tall which makes it a beautiful ornamental plant that definitely attracts attention. In the fall the pokeweed produces dark berries that are deadly to humans and livestock. In fact, every part of the plant is poisonous if ingested so keep this plant out of your pastures and away from children.
Chokecherry trees are a popular shade tree in North America but if you have one in your yard be careful. The berries are harmless but the seeds contain a toxic chemical that can cause vomiting, stomach aches, increased blood pressure, and even death if enough are eaten. Grazing livestock have been known to be poisoned by eating chokecherries so keep animals away or remove trees near livestock enclosures.
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