Reply To: Foraging 2: Testing plants

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Hi Grace, I am so sorry for not seeing this message before now. Here is a small list to help you with the poisonous plants – there are of course more, these are the main ones that I tell foragers about:
Aconite/Monkshood/Wolf’s bane – Blauwe monnikskap (Aconitum napellus) Garden plant. Unbelievably toxic.
Foxglove – Vingerhoedskruid (Digitalis purpurea) often mistaken for comfrey
Belladona – Wolfskers (Atropa bella-donna)
Cowbane / Water hemlock – Waterscheerling (Cicuta virosa)
Yew – Taxus (Taxus baccata) In many hedges. New growth looks like pine in spring.
Euphorbia species (e.g. petty spurge) Wolfsmelk – Euphorbia spp.
Thorn apple / Jimson weed – Doornappel (Datura stramonium)
Spurge/Wolfsmelk (Euphorbia spp) – White latex sap inside. Burns what it touches – mouth, throat, skin etc.
Several Apiaceae plants (Hemlock (Gevlekte scheerling), Water droplets, of Carrot family)
Nightshade (Solanaceae) plants (Henbane, Deadly nightshade, Bittersweet)
Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum) Loads of this one about at the moment. Looks pretty. Glossy saggitarius leaves. Pretty berry spikes, children often poisoned.
Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) Reuzenberenklauw – another Apiacaea plant. Terrible 3rd degree burns possible when the phototoxic chemical, which often grazes onto walkers legs and arms, is exposed to sunlight. Stays in skin and active for up to 7 years apparently.
Dog’s Mercury (Mercurialis perennis) – plentiful and hard to spot if not used to it. It is in the Euphorbia family (see above). Nasty toxin.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) Heart toxin. Often picked by wild garlic foragers by mistake. It smells green, not of garlic though. Pretty, lovely flowers. Fatal if high enough doses – depends on the person too.
White Bryony/Mad Root/Wood Vine (Bryonia dioica) – Lovely gothic looking climbing plant. I like it very much but highly toxic. Roots used to be sold as false mandrake (due to their appearance).

Naturally, this list could go on and on, but know about these and you’ll be happier 🙂