Poisonous Plants May Look Like Tasty Summer Treats, So Be Wary

Jul. 26, 2010

With the local foods movement going strong and summer at its peak, many are tempted to taste homegrown treats. Nature lovers need to be wary that consuming some foods from the earth may carry a heavy cost.

            “This is the time when Mother Nature is at her best, so we need to be especially careful not to eat poisonous plants,” said Ruth Lawrence, M.D., professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center and medical director of the Ruth A. Lawrence Poison and Drug Information Center.

If you or someone you know begins to feel faint, dizzy, dehydrated, have an upset stomach or exhibit any other signs of discomfort or malaise after consuming a fruit, vegetable or legume that has come from a questionable source, call the Poison and Drug Information Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222. An experienced staff member can provide advice for treatment. He or she may direct you to the Emergency Department, depending on the severity of your symptoms. For more valuable resources and information about poison prevention, visit

Climbing Nightshade may look attractive, but its red berries are poisonous.