Wilderness Survival Skills: A Guide To Identifying Poisonous Plants

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September 17, 2023 / Comments (6)

Featured Survival Skills

Put identifying poisonous plants on your top list of wilderness survival skills and learn how to, with this guide.

RELATED: 31 Outdoor Survival Skills For The True Outdoorsman

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1 Wilderness Survival Skills: Identify Poisonous Plants

Wilderness Survival Skills: Identify Poisonous Plants

Identifying Poisonous Plants Is One of the Top Wilderness Survival Skills

At this point, we cannot stress enough the importance of survival skills. Identifying poisonous plants is one of the most important wilderness survival skills–it should be part of survival skills training.

Poisonous plants are everywhere–they’re in the woods, the forests, and the mountains. In fact, some of them may even be in your garden.

This makes bugging out look like a dangerous proposition when the SHTF. This is why identifying plants is one of the important wilderness survival skills.

These plants would not cause harm though if you do not eat or touch them. Only don’t eat anything unfamiliar.

Make sure you have an adequate body covering when you’re out there, too. Wear thick or insulated clothing as well as tough and durable boots.

An Ultimate Guide to Identify Poisonous Plants in the Wilderness!

As you read our guide, you will realize it is actually simple and easy to avoid these poisonous plants. Just stick to your regular food and avoid the bitter stuff.

Know your plants and add one more to your wilderness survival skills. Check out the guide to help identify dangerous flora and avoid getting sick in the wilderness.

1. Aconite (Aconitum spp.)

A guide to poisonous plants would not be complete without the garden monkshood or aconite.

2. Agave/Century Plant (Agave spp.)

Poisonous plants can be found almost everywhere like the agave which is often used for landscaping.

3. Almond Seeds (Prunus spp.)

Bitter almonds contain amygdalin and prunasin, which are cyanogenic compounds. The type of almonds you find at the grocer are sweet almonds, which are safe to eat.

4. Angel's Trumpet (Brugmansia spp.)

More often than not, beautiful flora turns out to be poisonous plants. Just like the angel's trumpet which belongs to the toxic plant family, Solanaceae–pretty but deadly for sure.

5. Apple Seeds (Malus spp.)

We included apples in this list of poisonous plants because of the toxins found in the seeds. The seeds have to be chewed so hard, though, for the toxins to come out.

6. Apricot seeds (Prunus spp.)

You wouldn't think of the apricot as one of the poisonous plants but once again, the seeds or kernel are toxic.

7. Autumn Crocus/Meadow Saffron (Colchicum autumnale)

Some of its common names may be amusing but make no mistake, meadow saffrons are still poisonous plants.

8. Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)

The azalea is positively one of the most poisonous plants, so poisonous in fact, the honey made from them can still be toxic.

9. Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)

Its name alone will tell you bittersweets are one of those poisonous plants you should avoid.

10. Black Cherry Seeds (Prunus serotina)

Poisonous plants tend to make the fruit and only the fruit edible to animals and man. Black cherry seeds or pits may look edible but only animals can consume them without harm.

11. Black Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)

The black henbane makes it to the list of poisonous plants because it has caused coma in some cases.

12. Black Locust Seeds (Robinia pseudoacacia)

When it comes to poisonous plants, always remember death is possible. The seeds of the black locust are one example.

13. Black Nightshade (Solanum spp.)

Almost all members of the nightshade family are poisonous plants, including the black nightshade.

14. Cardinal Flower/Lobelia (Lobelia spp.)

There is more to the bright red color than being similar to a cardinal's robe, which is toxicity.

15. Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

Some poisonous plants look like other harmless varieties. The Carolina jessamine looks a lot like honeysuckle.

16. Carolina Laurel Cherry (Prunus caroliniana)

This is one of the most poisonous plants because of its hydrocyanic acid content, a type of cyanide.

17. Castor Bean (Ricinus communis)

Castor oil may be used in alternative medicine, but the beans make it one of the most common poisonous plants.

18. Cestrum/Jessamines (Cestrum spp.)

The Cestrum jessamines are some of the poisonous plants with berries that are toxic whether green or ripe.

19. Cherry Seeds (Prunus spp.)

The luscious cherry may surprise you with how it made the poisonous plants list, but the seeds are quite toxic.

20. Chinaberry (Melia azedarach)

Apart from being one of the poisonous plants, the chinaberry tree has also become a nuisance to the country's landscape.

21. Chinese Lantern (Physalis spp.)

Most poisonous plants are attractive and the Chinese lantern is one of them.

22. Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)

It's always a good thing to name plants based on what they are, poisonous plants. Chokecherry is both toxic to human and animals.

23. Climbing Lily (Gloriosa spp.)

The climbing lily is one of the poisonous plants which contain colchicine. It's one of the poisonous houseplants to watch out for.

24. Columbine/Granny's Bonnet (Aquilegia)

Poisonous plants like the Columbine can be eaten after cooking or drying but the improper intake can be dangerous.

25. Corncockle (Agrostemma githago)

Corncockle is one of the poisonous plants with pretty flowers you need to be cautious of.

26. Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster spp.)

Cyanogenic glycosides in poisonous plants like the cotoneaster are converted to cyanide during digestion.

27. Crabapple Seeds (Malus spp.)

Crabapples are similar to apples, poisonous plants whose toxins are found in the seeds.

28. Crow’s Poison/False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve)

Poisonous plants resemble edible plants and in this case, crow poison looks like garlic.

29. Daphne (Daphne spp.)

Like some poisonous plants, the bark, sap, and berries of Daphne have the most toxins.

30. Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)

Of all the poisonous plants to humans, the deadly nightshade is one of the most popular.

31. Death Camas (Zigadenus spp.)

Most parts of poisonous plants have toxins in them, like the death camas.

32. Dogbanes (Apocynum spp)

Dogbanes are poisonous plants found all over the country.

33. Doll's-Eyes/White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

Some poisonous plants like the doll's eye give away the fact from their looks alone.

34. Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia sp.)

The dumb cane stands out among poisonous plants because of its tongue-swelling effect.

35. Elderberry (Sambucus spp.)

The elderberry is yet another one of those poisonous plants containing toxic alkaloids.

36. English Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

Some poisonous plants are invasive and the English laurel is an example.

37. English Yew Seeds (Taxus baccata)

While the leaves of the yew are more toxic, the seeds are poisonous just the same.

38. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Some of the most beautiful things in this world are also some of the most dangerous, like the foxgloves.

39. Holly Berries (Ilex spp.)

It may not be as toxic as the other poisonous plants but it has more victims.

RELATED: 10 “Pretty Plants” You Didn’t Know Were Poisonous

40. Poisonous Mushroom

Mushrooms are forager's favorite but many of its species are poisonous and even deadly.

This video from Mycogypsy will show you how to identify edible from poisonous mushrooms–another one of the vital wilderness survival skills.

41. Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Unfortunately, lovely hydrangeas are one of the toxic houseplants to watch out for.

42. Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica)

Never eat the flowers, fruit, and leaves of poisonous plants like the Japanese pieris.

43. Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)

The Jerusalem cherry belongs to the nightshade family of poisonous plants.

44. Jimson Weed (Brugmansia spp.)

This weed is one of the toxic plants which are deadly.

45. Juniper (Juniperus sabina)

Take extra precaution when handling juniper for your holiday decorations, especially the species Juniper Sabina.

46. Lambkill (Kalmia angustifolia)

Lambkill is one of the poisonous plants which induces coma and death.

47. Lantana (Lantana camara)

Some poisonous plants like the lantana are popular among gardeners.

48. Larkspur (Delphinium spp.)

The larkspur is a member of the monkshood family of poisonous plants.

49. Loquat Seeds (Eriobotrya japonica)

Poisonous plants have deadly effects like the seeds of the loquat.

50. Madagascar Periwinkle (Vinca rosea)

While vinca is known for its medicinal attributes, excess in consumption can be dangerous.

51. Manchineel (Hippomane mancinella)

Of all the world's poisonous plants, the manchineel holds the title for the most dangerous.

52. Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Marsh marigold is one of the toxic plants to avoid when you're in the marshes.

53. Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Avoid eating the fruit of poisonous plants like those of the Mayapple.

54. Moonseed Plant (Menispermum canadense)

Some poisonous plants look like the edible variety so be very careful.

55. Morning Glory Seeds (Ipomoea spp.)

When you learn about these toxic plants, it's easy to see that the seeds are dangerous.

56. Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

When you see poisonous plants like the mountain laurel, stay back.

57. Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa)

Only the ripe fruit or the natal plum is edible, the rest are poisonous.

58. Nectarine Seeds (Prunus spp.)

Like some other poisonous plants, nectarine seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides.

59. Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Stay away from the oleander plant because its sap alone is deadly.

60. Peach Seeds (Prunus spp.)

Yes, even the seeds of peaches can be toxic so just enjoy the fruit.

61. Plum Seeds (Prunus spp.)

It can never be stressed enough how dangerous it can be when you eat the toxic seeds even from your favorite fruits.

62. Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum)

This is yet another notorious member of the hemlock family of poisonous plants.

63. Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)

The poisonous plant of the Toxicodendron genus has urushiol. A mere brush of this toxic plant can send you to the hospital, so learn how to identify poison ivy here.

64. Poison Oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum)

Like poison ivy and poison sumac, the poison oak releases the allergen urushiol.

65. Poison Sumac (Toxicodendron vernix)

Among the poisonous plants in its family, the poison sumac is the rarest.

66. Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Like most poisonous plants, every part of the pokeweed is toxic.

67. Potato (Solanum tuberosum)

Possibly the most beneficial of all poisonous plants, there is only one part of the potato which is safe to eat.

68. Rattlebox (Daubentonia punicea)

Although the seed pods of rattlebox or purple sesbane look like vegetables, the seeds are toxic when taken.

69. Red Squill (Drimia maritima)

There is no doubt about the red squill's toxicity as it is used to get rid of rodents.

70. Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius)

Although the rosary pea is toxic, the seeds find good use in jewelry.

71. Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)

These beauties are toxic plants with toxins in every part.

72. Mistletoe or Viscum

A kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas is enlivening but eating the toxic fruits might as well be the kiss of death!

73. Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum)

Compared to other poisonous plants, tobacco or nicotiana does not need any introduction.

74. Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)

Raw berries from poisonous plants such as the toyon should never be eaten.

75. Tree Tobacco (Nicotiana glauca)

Just because its name has the word tobacco doesn't mean you can chew or smoke this plant. Its leaves are fatal when ingested.

76. Water Hemlock (Cicuta spp.)

According to most sources, water hemlock is the most lethal of all poisonous plants. Its lethal toxins are concentrated in the roots.

77. White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)

Poisonous plants like the white snakeroot contain cyanogenetic chemicals. Livestock who consumed this plant passed the poison to humans through milk which is called milk poisoning.

78. Wintersweet (Acokanthera spectabilis)

There's nothing sweet about the wintersweet except perhaps for its lovely flowers. You still need to avoid it, though.

79. English Yew (Taxus baccata)

Don't be fooled by the inviting fruits of this holiday plant– it is one of the deadliest among all poisonous plants. The English or European Yew has leaves that are more toxic than the seeds.

On the flip side, watch this video from AlfieAesthetics to help you identity edible plants, also one of the essential wilderness survival skills:

Identifying poisonous plants can be tricky, especially in emergency situations. Never assume when you see an animal eat a plant, you can eat it, too.

Remember your goal is to survive. Identifying poisonous plants should be on top of your wilderness survival skills to learn indeed!

Have you had any encounters with any of these poisonous plants? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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Wilderness Survival Skills: A Guide To Identifying Poisonous Plants | https://survivallife.com/wilderness-survival-skills-what-you-need-to-know-about-poisonous-plants/

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 23, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

6 Responses to :
Wilderness Survival Skills: A Guide To Identifying Poisonous Plants

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  2. Anonymous says:

    What I think is that not only plants are poisonous other animals are poisonous.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I agree

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