Could You Survive in the Forest by Knowing Which Plants Can Be Food and Which Can Be Fatal?

By: Kennita Leon
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Many of us think that it's virtually impossible to get lost in the woods. Maybe it's because we never leave the city, or perhaps we think we know too much. But you can never have too much knowledge when you're facing life and death. And because we don't like taking chances where life is concerned, we're going to make sure that you know what you should and should not eat lest you get lost in the woods. 

So, we're going to show you a bunch of trees, plants, and shrubs that are found in most forests. It's your job to identify them and tell us whether they'd nourish you, or whether you should send your final goodbyes over the mountain via smoke signals. Now, these plants may look harmless, but don't let that fool you - be very watchful! Plus, we've given you a bunch of hints that'll help you decide what you should put in your mouth and what you shouldn't even touch, far less ingest.

So, don't be a Bear Grylls, because we're not really sure you can handle it. Instead, try to be a younger brother or sister of his and start your training by telling us whether these plants are fatal or not!

Gooseberry is a species of the genus Ribes. It is known for its small berries that are rich in vitamins A, B1, B5, B6, magnesium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.

Water hemlock is a genus of four species of violently toxic plants which, when ingested, cause vomiting, dizziness, confusion, seizures and eventually, death.

Wild onion, which belongs to the genus Allium, is an edible, invasive, perennial plant with white or light pink star-shaped flowers.

Pokeweed is a highly toxic herbaceous perennial plant native to the eastern United States. The entire plant is poisonous and, when consumed, causes vomiting, convulsions and spasms.

Indigenous to Asia and Europe, the common burdock is a biennial herb. The roots and young leaves are used to treat colds, joint pain, blade infections and skin conditions.

Lily-of-the-valley is a flowering plant noted for its toxicity which leads to vomiting, abdominal pain, drowsiness, blurred vision, skin rashes and reduced heart rate.

Lambsquarters are edible species of pigweed, which is used like spinach in salads or other recipes that require fresh greens.

Foxglove, characterized by its bright, trumpet-like flowers, is a common biennial toxic plant which causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, tremors, seizures and, in rare cases, death.

Common milkweed is the collective name for a species of flowering plants. Though edible, some species are poisonous, but this depends on how much is eaten.

Virginia creeper is a species of flowering plants of the grape family which produces highly toxic berries that may lead to fatality if consumed.

Blueberry, packed with antioxidants and vitamins K and C, is a perennial flowering plant which produces small berries with blue or purple coloration.

Deadly nightshade, also called belladonna, is a perennial herbaceous plant with toxic leaves and berries that causes hallucinations, delirium, loss of balance and blurred vision.

Wild ginger refers to any species of the Alpinia or Asarum genus. The roots are commonly used in cooking and medicine as well as the leaves, which have a mild flavor.

Buckeye is the common name of the genus Aesculus. The entirety of the tree is moderately toxic and causes gastrointestinal disturbances when ingested.

Wild roses are perennial flowering plants that are used for medicinal purposes such as relieving the cold and flu, menstrual pain and congestion, varicose veins and inflammation.

Baneberry is the common name for a genus of flowering plants that produces highly toxic berries which cause cardiac arrest and eventually, death.

Common dandelion is a broadleaf weed whose roots, leaves or flower may be cooked or added to salads.

Holly is a genus of 400 to 600 species of flowering plants known for their bright red berries which cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Cranberries are a group of evergreen shrubs noted for their fruit high in antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K.

Manchineel is referred to as one of the most toxic trees in the world due to the toxicity of the entire tree. Consuming the fruit of the tree may lead to fatality.

Wild strawberry, which grows up to two and a half to three inches tall, is a perennial herbaceous plant that produces small, sweet edible strawberries.

Rhododendron is a genus of woody plants known for its colorful flowers. Ingestion of the leaves, flowers or nectar of the plant causes dizziness, nausea, vomiting and difficulty breathing.

Violet is a genus of flowering plants with edible leaves and flowers that may be cooked as greens or used in salads.

Daphne is a genus of extremely toxic deciduous and evergreen shrubs. The entire plant is poisonous, specifically the bark, sap and berries.

Native to North America, Jerusalem artichoke is a species of sunflower that is cultivated for its tubers that can be eaten as a side dish or roasted and served with butter.

Castor bean, also called castor bean oil plant, is a highly toxic perennial flowering plant noted for the poison called ricin, which is found in the hull of the bean's shell.

Wild garlic, native to Europe and Asia, is an edible wild relative of chives that contains antibiotic and antibacterial properties as well as high levels of vitamins A and C.

Rosary pea is a slender, perennial climber known for its toxic seeds due to the presence of abrin, an extremely poisonous plant protein.

Amaranth is a genus of short-lived or perennial plants with some species being cultivated for their leaves, seeds and grains.

Oleander is a shrub, or small tree of the dogbane family noted for its colorful flowers. The entire plant is toxic and primarily affects the gastrointestinal and central nervous system.

Native to North America, this species of elderberry is used in folk medicine to treat infections, influenza, heart pain, nerve pain and headaches or to make juice, pies and wine.

Poison ivy, native to eastern North American and Asia, is a flowering perennial that causes an irritating, itchy and painful rash when in contact with the skin.

Bull thistle is a biennial growing plant with edible leaves, stalks, unopened flower bud bottoms and roots.

Monkshood, also known as devil's helmet or queen of poisons, is a genus of 250 species of flowering plants which, if consumed in large quantities, could lead to death.

Chickweed is an edible plant that is used to make medicine to treat stomach and bowel issues, constipation, asthma, blood disorders, rabies and joint and muscle pain.

Angel's trumpet is a genus of flowering plants noted for its trumpet-like flowers. The entire plant is highly toxic and in severe cases, may cause death.

Currants are part of the Ribes family of shrubs. These juicy berries grow on plants in cool, northern climates. Although humans often enjoy currants in jams, they can be toxic to dogs.

English yew is an ornamental evergreen tree or shrub that contains taxine alkaloids, a toxin which causes lethargy, headaches, itchiness, joint pain and skin rashes.

Red clover is an edible plant that may be used in tea or in a salad (leaves) and the flowers may be cooked, eaten raw or dried to make tea.

Native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, the desert rose is a genus of poisonous flowering plants that causes dizziness, lethargy, nausea and low heart beat when ingested.

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