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5 Forest Plants You Should Never Eat

5 Forest Plants To Avoid Continued

With that in mind, below is a list of 5 plants that you should never consume. At best they’ll make you very ill. At worse … well, it’s the end of “survival”.

The Toxic Holly Plant

The Toxic Holly Plant

Take a few moments to review what these plants look like. It’s an important part of your what-to-avoid survival skills. And, as always, Learn, Practice and Share.

Buckeye

Several species of buckeye tree (Aesculus spp.) grow throughout the central and eastern United States. These native trees have nuts that are surprisingly poisonous.

Buckeye

Buckeye

Buckeye nuts have a shiny brown shell, which is surrounded by a dull textured husk – similar to the outer husk structure of hickories (Carya spp.).

Break the tree nut open, and you’ll find a solid, whole nut meat inside a buckeye. This is in contrast to the complex shape of the hickory nut meat, which resembles the shape of walnut or pecan internally.

Also, be careful that you don’t confuse buckeyes with chestnuts, as chestnuts have a shiny nutshell under an outer husk. Look for the needle covered husks on chestnut, and you’ll be working with nut.

Wild Cherry

Wild cherry trees (Prunus spp.) can produce a tasty cherry fruit, but these same trees can also be a source of toxicity. The wilting leaves of cherry develop a high concentration of cyanide.

While humans aren’t normally drawn to the odor, livestock frequently eat this dying foliage and end up dying themselves.

The cherries themselves also contain cyanide in their pits, so don’t try to grind those up for flour or any other human foods.

Poke Berries

The pokeweed plant (Phytolacca americana) has some of the juiciest and most appetizing looking berries of late summer and early fall. But don’t be fooled by this alluring look.

Poke Berries

Poke Berries

These berries are animal food, not people food. Migrating birds, deer, and many other animals can chow down on these poisonous berries with no ill effect. Humans aren’t so lucky.

A handful could kill a child, and a little more could take out an adult.

Pokeweed can be spotted easily by the grape-like clusters of purple-black berries and brightly colored, purplish-pink stalks up to 8 feet tall.

Seriously, they look delicious, but don’t eat them.

Horse Nettle

Horse Nettle plants are dead and dried during the winter, but their fruits can remain plump and juicy. The yellow colored, cherry tomato shaped fruits of Horsenettle could look like a meal to the uneducated forager.

Horse Nettle

Horse Nettle

Their tomato looks should be a warning, though. The tomato’s family (nightshade) is full of wild relatives that are harmful to humans.

The Horse nettle fruits and most other parts of the plant are poisonous to varying degrees from the toxic alkaloid solanine.

Eating fruits can cause abdominal pain, and possibly lead to circulatory and respiratory depression. Just remember that there are no edible wild tomatoes in the lower 48.

Holly

The pretty red berries of the American holly (Ilex opaca) can certainly look inviting. You might be tempted to taste them, especially after you see the birds gobbling them down.

Holly

Holly

But remember that birds can tolerate poisons that would kill a human. Holly berries contain a number of toxins, and while fatalities are rare from holly consumption, there have been some documented deaths.

Source & Images: Outdoor Life and Tim MacWelch

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