TOXIC WILD PLANTS OF NORTHEAST REGION OF USA Some parts of these plants are edible if prepared properly, and many are used as medicinals.
(This is a work-in-progress by www.WildFoodies.org)
POISON IVY VINE all parts & the smoke from burning them
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans Urushiol-induced contact dermatitis is the allergic reaction caused by poison ivy. In extreme cases, a reaction can progress to anaphylaxis. Around 15% to 30% of people have no allergic reaction to urushiol, but most people will have a greater reaction with repeated or more concentrated exposure. POISON OAK VINE – all parts & the smoke from burning them
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_diversilobum …causes itching; then evolves into dermatitis with inflammation, colorless bumps, severe itching, and blistering… leafless branches and twigs contact also causes allergic reactions…extremely hazardous, from wildfires, controlled burns, or disposal fires. The smoke can poison people … Branches used to toast food over campfires can cause reactions internally and externally.
AUTUMN CROCUS, STAR OF BETHLEHEM, TULIP - bulbs most toxic part
http://novascotia.ca/museum/poison/?section=species&id=101 POISON TYPE - Glycosides in wild hyacinth, star-of-Bethlehem, and lily of the valley. Alkaloids in Indian hellebore, autumn crocus, and tulips. While Indian hellebore, autumn crocus, and lily of the valley have, or have had, medicinal uses, all of these plants can be dangerous or fatal if ingested in large doses.
ATAMASCO LILY - bulbs most toxic part, grows mainly in southeastern U.S
NARCISSUS / HYACINTH / DAFFODIL - bulbs most toxic part
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(plant)#Toxicity All Narcissus species contain the alkaloid poison lycorine, mostly in the bulb but also in the leaves…Many cases of poisoning or death have occurred when narcissi bulbs have been mistaken for leeks or onions and cooked and eaten.
LILY-OF-THE-VALLEY – all parts highly toxic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lily_of_the_valley All parts of the plant are highly poisonous, including the red berries which may be attractive to children. If ingested—even in small amounts—the plant can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and a reduced heart rate. WHITE HELLEBORE / FALSE HELLEBORE – looks like the edible hosta
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veratrum_viride The plant is highly toxic, causing nausea and vomiting. If the poison is not evacuated, cold sweat and vertigo appears. Respiration slows, cardiac rhythm and blood pressure falls, eventually leading to death.
http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/False%20Hellebore.html ARROW ARUM – root toxic if eaten raw
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peltandra_virginica The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, making it unpalatable. Native Americans used most parts of the plant for food, however, cooking it for hours first to make it safe to eat.
http://www.eattheweeds.com/peltandra-virginica-starch-storer-2/ It’s a plant with a rhizome laced with a toxin though the Indians knew how to get rid of.
JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT – all parts toxic
MAYAPPLE – all parts, except fruit if eaten in moderation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podophyllum The ripened fruit is edible in little amounts, though when consumed in large amounts the fruit is poisonous. The rhizome, foliage and roots are also poisonous.Mayapple containspodophyllotoxin,which is highly toxic if consumed, but can be used as a topical medicine.
BLUE FLAG IRIS – all parts toxic, leaves used as fine twine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_versicolor The species has been implicated in several poisoning cases of humans and animals who consumed the rhizomes, which have been found to contain a glycoside, iridin. The sap can cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=IRVE2 The rhizome of the Blue Flag is poisonous, but was used by colonists, with guidance from Indian people, for various healing purposes. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.) Some tribes used the two outermost fibres of the leaves to spin strong, very fine, highly esteemed twine.
YELLOW FLAG IRIS - all parts toxic, also used as twine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_pseudacorus http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/iripse/all.html Pale-yellow iris is considered poisonous, review by due to large amounts of glycosides found in foliage and rhizomes.
NIGHTSHADE / HORSE NETTLE - all parts toxic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_carolinense While ingesting any part of the plant can cause fever, headache, scratchy throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, ingesting the fruit can cause abdominal pain, circulatory and respiratory depression, or even death.
BITTER NIGHTSHADE – avoid all parts, berry toxic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_dulcamara The fruit is an ovoid red berry about 1 cm long, soft and juicy, with the aspect and odor of a tiny tomato, and edible for some birds, which disperse the seeds widely.However, the berry is poisonous to humans and livestock,and the berry's attractive and familiar look make it dangerous for children.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celastrus_scandens american It has colorful, orange fruits that are the size of a pea. These fruits are poisonous to humans when ingested internally, but are favorites of birds. C. scandens roots were used by Native Americans and pioneers to induce vomiting, to treat venereal disease, and to treat symptoms of tuberculosis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diervilla_lonicera Plants from the honeysuckle family are commonly used for herbal cough medicine. The most common use is as an herbal tea for sore throats, but there are also recipes for a cough syrup derived from the leaves and flowers of the vines mixed with honey…Some species of honeysuckle can be poisonous, so it is best to use extreme caution and not be attempted by anyone who is not an expert in this field.
BUSH HONEYSUCKLE – invasive, berries (red, blue or black) mildly poisonous, nectar of flower edible, question on the use of leaves, buds & flowers for tea.
http://www.eattheweeds.com/honeysuckle-heaven-2/ The fruit can be red, blue or black berry, usually containing several seeds. In most species the berries are mildly poisonous, but a few have edible berries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonicera_maackii The red berries are mildly poisonous to humans and should not be eaten.
CANADIAN MOONSEED – all parts toxic, no tendrils as with edible grapevines, half-moon seeds, unlike round grape seeds
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menispermum_canadense All parts of these plants are known to be poisonous. The principal toxin is the alkaloid dauricine. The fruit of Canada Moonseed are poisonous and can be fatal. WISTERIA – most parts toxic, seeds can be fatal, flowers are edible
Wiseria’s multiple personality continues with edibility. The blossoms of the plant are edible raw or cooked. The rest of the plant is toxic per se. In fact, as little as two raw seeds can kill a child. That is not uncommon for a member of the pea family which ranges from edible to toxic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisteria_frutescens
BUTTERCUPS – leaves might be edible if cooked
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranunculus_pensylvanicus http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ranunculus+pennsylvanicus Although no specific record of toxicity has been found for this plant, many if not all members of this genus are poisonous. These toxins can be destroyed by heat or by drying. Many if not all plants in this genus also have a strongly acrid juice that can cause blistering to the skin.
GREATER CELENDINE - all parts toxic, orange-yellow latex sap
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelidonium The whole plant is toxic in moderate doses as it contains a range of isoquinoline alkaloids but there are numerous therapeutic uses when used at the correct dosage. http://www.botanical-online.com/english/celandine_poisonous.htm Yes, celandine is a toxic plant. It contains a corrosive caustic juice, and it is rich in toxic alkaloids. Its medicinal use must be carefully controlled . It is Not recommended for internal use. ELDERBERRY – all parts toxic, except berries and flowers
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambucus_canadensis The berries and flowers are edible, but other parts of the plant are poisonous, containing toxic calcium oxalate crystals
Elderberry and the FDA: http://www.newscow.net/story.php?StoryID=5467
POISON SUMAC – all parts irritant to skin (edible cousin – Staghorn Sumac)
white flowers in spring, white berries in fall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_vernix All parts of the plant contain a resin called urushiol that causes skin and mucous membrane irritation to humans. When burned, inhalation of the smoke may cause the rash to appear on the lining of the lungs, causing extreme pain and possibly fatal respiratory difficulty. http://www.wildwoodsurvival.com/survival/food/poisonousplants/poisonsumac/
JIMSON WEED/ THORN APPLE - all parts toxic
All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics. The risk of fatal overdose is high among uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur amongst recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects.
POKEWEED – roots and stalk toxic, only young green shoots properly cooked are edible, and maybe the berries. Needs more research.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002874.htm The highest amounts of poison are found in the roots, leaves, and stems. Small amounts are in the fruit. Cooked berries and leaves (cooked twice in separate water) can be eaten (although there is no guarantee that they are safe). The roots should never be eaten. POISON HEMLOCK- KNOW THIS PLANT! All parts highly toxic.
Closely resembles wild carrot, but stalks are smooth, not fuzzy, with maroon spots. A biennial, it sends up its stalk the second year.
WATER HEMLOCK KNOW THIS PLANT! All parts highly toxic.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicuta ...Upon consumption, both in humans and other species, the symptoms of poisoning are mainly characterized by generalized seizures. The onset of symptoms following ingestion may be as soon as 15 minutes post ingestion. Initial symptoms reported may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, tremors, confusion, weakness, dizziness, and drowsiness;although the rapid onset of seizure activity may be the first sign presented following poisoning.
GIANT HOGWEED, GIANT COW PARSNIP – highly toxic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heracleum_mantegazzianum - The sap of giant hogweed causes phytophotodermatitis in humans, resulting in blisters, long-lasting scars, and—if it comes in contact with eyes—blindness. These serious reactions are due to the furocoumarinderivatives in the leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds of the plant.
YELLOW SWEETCLOVER – toxic mold is the issue, edible if not moldy, see link at bottom
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melilotus_officinalis Sweet clover contains coumarin that converts to dicoumarol (a powerful anticoagulant toxin) when the plant becomes moldy. This can lead to bleeding diseases (internal hemorrhaging) and death in cattle. Consequently, hay containing the plant must be properly dried and cured, especially in wet environments. Edible in moderation - http://www.eattheweeds.com/melitotus-condiment-to-tea-to-blood-thinner-2/
RHODODENDRONS – most parts, perhaps with the exception of the flowers, related to LAURELS & AZALEAS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhododendron#Toxicology Some species of rhododendron are poisonous to grazing animals because of a toxin called grayanotoxin in their pollen and nectar. People have been known to become ill from eating honey made by bees feeding on rhododendron and azalea flowers….The rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal, where the flower is considered edible and enjoyed for its sour taste. The pickled flower can last for months and the flower juice is also marketed. The flower, fresh or dried, is added to fish curry in the belief that it will soften the bones.
LAURELS – all parts toxic, related to RHODODENTRONS & AZALEAS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalmia_latifolia#ToxicityMountain laurel is poisonous to several different animals due to grayanotoxin and arbutin, including horses, goats, cattle, deer, monkeys and humans. The green parts of the plant, flowers, twigs, and pollen are all toxic, including food products made from them, such as toxic honey that may produce neurotoxic and gastrointestinal symptoms in humans eating more than a modest amount. AZALEAS – all parts toxic, related to LAURELS & RHODODENDRONS
In addition to being renowned for its beauty, the Azalea is also highly toxic—it contains andromedotoxins in both its leaves and nectar, including honey from the nectar. The Azalea and Rhododendron were once so infamous for their toxicity that to receive a bouquet of their flowers in a black vase was a well-known death threat. http://www.donaldhyatt.com/speaker.html
MISTLETOE – all parts toxic, grows in trees, visible in winter
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoradendron_leucarpum Ingesting the berries can cause "stomach and intestinal irritation with diarrhea, lowered blood pressure, and slow pulse". http://www.hiltonpond.org/thisweek051208.html
YEW BUSH / TREE – most parts toxic, except red sweet flesh that surrounds its highly toxic black seed
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus_baccata Symptoms of yew poisoning include an accelerated heart rate, muscle tremors, convulsions, collapse, difficulty breathing, circulation impairment and eventually heart failure. However, there may be no symptoms, and if poisoning remains undetected death may occur within hours.Fatal poisoning in humans is very rare, usually occurring after consuming yew foliage. The leaves are more toxic than the seed. SASSAFRAS BUSH – oil controversy, read below
http://www.eattheweeds.com/sassafras-root-beer-rat-killer/ http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Sassafras.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras_albidum
OAK TREE – leaves and acorns toxic, acorns edible only after proper processing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak The leaves and acorns of the oak tree are poisonous to cattle, horses, sheep, and goats in large amounts due to the toxin tannic acid, and cause kidney damage and gastroenteritis… Acorns are also edible to humans in processed form, after leaching of the tannins.
HORSE CHESTNUT TREE – all parts toxic, looks like Chestnut
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesculus_hippocastanum#Medical_uses Raw Horse Chestnut seed, leaf, bark and flower are toxic due to the presence of esculin and should not be ingested. Horse chestnut seed is classified by the FDA as an unsafe herb. The glycoside and saponin constituents are considered toxic.
BLACK LOCUST TREE – bark & leaves toxic, flowers & seeds edible
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robinia_pseudoacacia Although the bark and leaves are toxic, various reports suggest that the seeds and the young pods of the black locust are edible. Shelled seeds are safe to harvest from summer through fall, and are edible both raw and/or boiled
CHERRY TREES – toxic seeds and foliage, ground seeds contain cyanide, fruit very edible
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_serotina Like apricots, the seeds of black cherries contain compounds that can be converted into cyanide, such as amygdalin. These compounds release hydrogen cyanide when the seed is ground or minced, which releases enzymes that break down the compounds… the flesh is safe to eat. The foliage, particularly when wilted, contains cyanogenic glycosides, which convert to hydrogen cyanide if eaten by animals. Farmers are recommended to remove any trees that fall in a field containing livestock, because the wilted leaves could poison the animals… Black cherry is a leading cause of livestock illness, and grazing animals' access to it should be limited.
BUTTERFY WEED – all parts toxic if eaten raw, must be cooked says second source below. More research needed.
http://www.inpaws.org/images/resources/Gordon%20Mitchell%20Articles/GM_butterfly_weed.pdf The Butterfly Weed contains substances that are toxic to both humans and livestock. If consumed by either humans or livestock, toxic symptoms may include bloating, breathing difficulties, dilated pupils, dullness, fevers, seizures, spasms, staggering, stupor, weakness, coma, and even death.
COUNTER POINT: http://www.floralencounters.com/Seeds/seed_detail.jsp?productid=92987 Surprisingly this plant is edible. Both the flower buds and shoots if cooked can be eaten. The shoots like asparagus and the flowers apparently taste like peas although I have yet to try this. However the plant is toxic if eaten raw, always cook or par-boil the plant before eating, never eat anything raw. No part should be eaten in large quantities however as this can cause vomiting. The flower clusters which, produce prolific amounts of nectar, can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup. The nectar production is so prolific in fact that in hot weather it crystallizes out into small lumps which can be eaten like sweets, the nectar is not toxic raw. DOGBANE – all parts toxic, except perhaps seeds (see below), looks like milkweed, but woody & multi-stemmed
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocynum_cannabinum All parts of the plant are poisonous and can cause cardiac arrest if ingested. http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Apocynum+cannabinum Seeds are edible?