[NAFEX] What's safe to eat and what isn't
list at ginda.us
list at ginda.us
Tue Nov 30 21:54:10 EST 2004
Flowering dogwood berries can't be extremely poisonous, as I used to
eat them from time to time as a child. They taste terrible, though -
waxy, gritty, bitter, and otherwise pretty bland. That's the common
flowing dogwood. The oriental one (cornus kousa) has big spiky fruits
that look poisonous. They actually have a sweet creamy pulp between
large seeds. I have eaten that, too, by sucking the pulp out through a
hole I bit in the fruit. It tasted weird - like some odd tropical
fruit - and I didn't care for it, but I expect that many people would
I'll take a pass on yew - a slimy fruit surrounding a very toxic seed
doesn't sound worth the risk. The other red fruit I wouldn't try is
deadly nightshade. (Some plants have black berries, but many have
attractive red berries.) I've read of people who cooked the ripe
berries into pie and ate it without harm. And I expect that like
tomato (to which it is related) the toxins in the fruit break down as
it ripens. Still, personally, I would avoid it, and not encourage my
children to eat indiscriminately of red fruits.
On Nov 30, 2004, at 6:04 PM, Bill Russell wrote:
> Yew fruit is edible, if you spit out the seed. Tastes pretty good,
> too, if
> you dont mind slime.
> Flowering dogwood berries are very poisonous.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Diane Whitehead" <voltaire at islandnet.com>
> To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 10:11 AM
> Subject: Re: [NAFEX] What's safe to eat and what isn't
>>> There is an old saying:
>>> Berries red, have no dread
>>> berries white, poisons sight.
>> I have masses of poisonous red berries in my garden - yew and daphne.
>> I trained my children, and now grandchildren, to browse my yard
>> safely. When they were toddlers, they could identify strawberries,
>> and we would go around the yard (which has hundreds of alpine
>> strawberry plants growing everywhere), and I'd point to various red
>> berries and ask if they looked like a strawberry, and they would eat
>> the safe berries. As they got a bit older, I added other safe
>> fruits, and then they were old enough to actually identify the
>> poisonous ones. At this point, I would hear them instructing visiting
>> I thought about all the berries that grow in this area, both wild
>> ones and garden ones, and came up with an all-encompassing rule for
>> small children. "Bumpy berries are safe." This has been picked up by
>> leaders of children's groups here, and the children are taught what
>> they can safely eat in the woods. It leaves out the smooth berries
>> that are safe,(huckleberries and blueberries), but those can be
>> taught to older children when they can identify the whole bush.
>> I don't know whether this rule applies elsewhere. Here, all the bumpy
>> berries are members of the rose family: strawberries, raspberries,
>> blackberries, salmonberries, thimbleberries. Does anyone know of any
>> poisonous berries that could be considered "bumpy"?
>> Diane Whitehead Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
>> maritime zone 8
>> cool mediterranean climate (dry summer, rainy winter - 68 cm annually)
>> sandy soil
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