pastinaca

Forest Witch Tip: Poisonous doppelgangers🌿🌱

This is a list of some of the most confusing plants to identify, with dangerous evil twins (although they may be good for curses). Remember not to eat ANYTHING in the wild unless you’re 100% certain what it is. It’s especially important for us hedge witches who tend to forage vs grow and all kinds of nature witches to know what we’re picking. 




Sweet almonds vs. Bitter almonds

The sweet almonds that are bought, sold, and enjoyed in the U.S. and in most countries have only a negligible amount of cyanide in them, but bitter almonds—which are shorter and wider than their sweet cousins—can contain 42 times as much. This high cyanide content means that children can be fatally poisoned by eating just five to ten bitter almonds, and adults by eating around 50. Even a handful of bitter almonds can lead to dizziness or vertigo, weakness, difficulty breathing, and numerous other symptoms in adults 


Wild grapes VS. Moonseed

Menispermum canadense, or “Canadian moonseed,” produces fruit so similar in appearance to grapes and other pleasant edibles that it can blend in with the Vitis bunch if you’re not careful. The plant is toxic for humans from root to leaf-tip, and its moonseed berries—which have a single, crescent-shaped seed each, unlike grapes’ round ones—can easily prove fatal when eaten due to their toxic lode of dauricine.  Moonseeds also reportedly taste just awful (generally speaking, this is a good sign you should spit something out). 


Carrot, parsnips vs hemlock 

The above-ground plants of wild carrots (Daucus carota, widely known as Queen Anne’s Lace) and parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) can look a lot like hemlock’s, and the roots below can appear similar, too (especially when they’ve just been pulled out of the ground).


For the record, wild parsnip poses its own threat, too. Especially during flowering season, its sap can cause skin reactions which can range from a simple rash to something very much like a lasting, second-degree burn. So if you do go root-hunting (staying well clear of hemlock, of course), you’ll do well to use gloves and skin-covering clothing whenever possible.


Wild blueberry vs Tutsan

blueberries have a potentially deadly lookalike that’s spread from its native Eurasian zones to New Zealand, Australia, and North America. The black berries of Hypericum androsaemum, a.k.a. tutsan or “sweet amber” bushes, can do a decent blueberry impression but can cause gastrointestinal distress, weakness, raised heart-rate, and other symptoms in both people and animals, and especially in children. In general, eager berry-pickers should do some careful research before foraging in the wild, as a wide variety of berries are moderately to highly toxic, including strychnine tree berries, and holly berries