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

By: Kennita Leon

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

Gooseberries Would ingesting gooseberry mean your funeral is coming?
Yes
No
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.

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Hemlock Is water hemlock deadly?
Yes
Water hemlock is a genus of four species of violently toxic plants which, when ingested, cause vomiting, dizziness, confusion, seizures and eventually, death.
No

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Yes
No
Wild onion, which belongs to the genus Allium, is an edible, invasive, perennial plant with white or light pink star-shaped flowers.

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Pokeweed Could pokeweed kill you?
Yes
No
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.

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Burdock Could burdock kill you?
Yes
No
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.

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Lily_of_the_valley Is lily-of-the-valley fatal?
Yes
No
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.

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Chenopodium album Would lambsquarters send a human to their grave?
Yes
No
Lambsquarters are edible species of pigweed, which is used like spinach in salads or other recipes that require fresh greens.

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Foxglove Does foxglove kill humans?
Yes
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.
No

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Milkweed Is milkweed deadly?
Yes
No
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.

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Virginia Creeper What about the Virginia creeper?
Yes
Virginia creeper is a species of flowering plants of the grape family which produces highly toxic berries that may lead to fatality if consumed.
No

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Blueberries Could blueberry kill a person?
Yes
No
Blueberry, packed with antioxidants and vitamins K and C, is a perennial flowering plant which produces small berries with blue or purple coloration.

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shutterstock_335279255 Is belladonna life-threatening?
Yes
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.
No

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Wild Ginger Would ingesting wild ginger mean your funeral is coming?
Yes
No
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.

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Buckeye Does buckeye kill humans?
Yes
No
Buckeye is the common name of the genus Aesculus. The entirety of the tree is moderately toxic and causes gastrointestinal disturbances when ingested.

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Wild Rose And wild rose? Is it deadly?
Yes
No
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.

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Baneberry Is baneberry deadly?
Yes
Baneberry is the common name for a genus of flowering plants that produces highly toxic berries which cause cardiac arrest and eventually, death.
No

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Dandelion What about dandelion?
Yes
No
Common dandelion is a broadleaf weed whose roots, leaves or flower may be cooked or added to salads.

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Holly Could holly kill you?
Yes
No
Holly is a genus of 400 to 600 species of flowering plants known for their bright red berries which cause diarrhea and vomiting.

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Cranberry And cranberry?
Yes
No
Cranberries are a group of evergreen shrubs noted for their fruit high in antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K.

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Manchineel Is manchineel fatal?
Yes
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.
No

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Wild Strawberry Would wild strawberry send a human to their grave?
Yes
No
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.

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Rhododendron Do rhododendrons kill humans?
Yes
No
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.

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violets Is violet deadly?
Yes
No
Violet is a genus of flowering plants with edible leaves and flowers that may be cooked as greens or used in salads.

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Daphne What about daphne?
Yes
Daphne is a genus of extremely toxic deciduous and evergreen shrubs. The entire plant is poisonous, specifically the bark, sap and berries.
No

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Jerusalem artichoke Could Jerusalem artichoke kill a person?
Yes
No
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.

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Castor Bean Is castor bean life-threatening?
Yes
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.
No

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Wild Garlic Would ingesting wild garlic mean your funeral is coming?
Yes
No
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.

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Rosary Pea Does rosary pea kill humans?
Yes
Rosary pea is a slender, perennial climber known for its toxic seeds due to the presence of abrin, an extremely poisonous plant protein.
No

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Amaranth And amaranth?
Yes
No
Amaranth is a genus of short-lived or perennial plants with some species being cultivated for their leaves, seeds and grains.

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Oleander Is oleander deadly?
Yes
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.
No

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Elderberry What about American elderberry?
Yes
No
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.

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Poison Ivy Could poison ivy kill you?
Yes
No
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.

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Bull Thistle And bull thistle?
Yes
No
Bull thistle is a biennial growing plant with edible leaves, stalks, unopened flower bud bottoms and roots.

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Mockshood Is monkshood fatal?
Yes
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.
No

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Chickweed Would chickweed send a human to their grave?
Yes
No
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.

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Angel's Trumpets Does angel's trumpet kill humans?
Yes
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.
No

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Currants Are currants deadly?
Yes
No
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.

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English Yew What about English yew?
Yes
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.
No

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Red clover Could red clover kill a person?
Yes
No
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.

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Desert Rose Is desert rose life-threatening?
Yes
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.
No

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