Poisonous Plants
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Uses- Poisonous Plants

''Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
    And vice sometimes by action dignified.
    Within the infant rind of this small flower
    Poison hath residence and medicine power''

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene II

As resourceful as nature is by providing you with food, medicine and practical tools, you must take the utmost caution to not stumble into poisonous plants during your time in the woods. Below are some of the most common Northeastern US plants that are known to be poisonous to ingest, touch, or both.

Warning: As you will see below, some of the plants we listed for edible, medicinal or practical use have poisionous parts that you should avoid when collecting the material you need.



Fruits / Flowering Spike / Leaves / Seeds / All Parts



Bittersweet Nightshade

Ginkgo fruit (foul-smelling, too!)

Virginia Creeper (often near Poison Ivy)

flowering spike


Common Cattail – edible in April May, inedible when mature

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Black Cherry




Black Cherry


all parts


Jack in the Pulpit - to eat

Poison Ivy - to touch

Pokeweed - to eat

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