7 poisonous plants

What to avoid touching and/or eating in the great outdoors

By Ruane RemyRuane Remy

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Pokeweed

Photo by guano

Phytolacca americana

This perennial is native to southwestern Ontario and Quebec. Pokeweed is found along meadows, edges of woods and waste areas. It has a pinkish to bright red stem that grows one to three metres high. Its leaves are dark green on top and pinkish-green on the bottom, with pink veins running through them. Pokeweed grows purplish berries and greenish-white to pink flowers blooming off short stems.

All of its parts—leaves, berries, roots, stems, and young shoots—are poisonous when ingested in large amounts. In humans, poisoning can cause a long list of unpleasant reactions, including stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness, and many more.

First aid tips: If you eat pokeweed, see a medical professional right away.


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