7 poisonous plants

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

By Ruane RemyRuane Remy

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Alder buckthorn

Rhamnus frangula

Alder buckthorn is a shrub or small tree with purplish-black fruit. It grows along fencerows, roadsides, and lightly shaded areas from the prairie provinces to eastern Canada. Its bark and mature fruit are poisonous if eaten and can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms may worsen if more than 20 alder buckthorn berries are consumed.

First aid tips: No one likes vomiting, but it’s often a good thing to do if you’ve been poisoned by this plant: the body purges most of the nasty stuff and saves you from more severe symptoms.

If you’ve eaten alder buckthorn berries, stay hydrated and call the Ontario Poison Centre and emergency services. Keep a sample of the plant for identification.


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