Poisonous Plants
As there are plants in this guide that are dangerous for a number of reasons, this section has been divided into three parts:

1.) Plants that are completely poisonous.

Simple - consuming these plants could have dangerous if not deadly* results. Avoid them at all costs.

2.) Plants that have both edible and poisonous parts.

Be careful to read the descriptions of which parts are edible very carefully so as to make sure that you don't consume any part of the plant that might be poisonous.

3.) Plants that are not poisonous, but may be easily confused with poisonous plants.

Make sure to read information about the differences between these plants and the specific plants that they might be confused with.

Watch out for the red WARNINGs throughout this guide, as they contain information about poisonous plants, poisonous parts of plants, and lookalikes.

Finally, remember not to consume any part of a plant that you cannot identify with absolute certainty.

Plants in this guide that are completely poisonous

Anacardiaceae - The Cashew Family

Poison Ivy

Any physical contact with this plant can cause dermatitis*. The oil that is responsible for this can also be transmitted by clothing.

Solanaceae - The Nightshade Family

Bittersweet Nightshade

Red berries are extremely poisonous.

Vitaceae - The Grape Family

Virginia Creeper

Dark berries are highly toxic, deadly* if large amounts.

Plants in this guide that have some poisonous part(s)

Phytolaccaceae - The Pokeweed Family


Any roots, shoots*, stems, or seeds mature enough to be reddish-colored are highly poisonous.

Rosaceae - The Rose Family

Black Cherry

Seeds and wilting leaves contain cyanide.

Plants in this guide that might be confused with poisonous plants

Asclepiadaceae - The Milkweed Family

Common Milkweed

Before flowers develop young shoots* resemble dogsbanes and Butterfly-weed. Of the three, only Common Milkweed has lightly hairy shoots and milky sap.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.