Nature is beautiful, but not always healthy.
Saturday, September 18, 2021. I was working on a vacant house that had plants in the back yard.
The plants had purple berries. I thought they were elderberries.
My grandmother made elderberry jelly when I was a kid. So I picked a sack of these berries.
Later that day, I was at home at the kitchen table, plucking berries off the cluster and putting them in a bowl.
I intended to make elderberry jam. Some of the berries were shriveled on the stem.
It seemed strange that birds hadn’t eaten them when they were plump and dead-ripe.
I decided to try one, to remember what it tasted like. It was terribly bitter.
I wondered how a berry so bitter could be made into jelly. And I wondered why anyone would try.
I told my wife about it. She became concerned, doubting that these were elderberries and wondering what they were.
I poked around the internet and learned they were ‘poke berries’ from the poke plant.
They are poison and 10-17 berries can kill an adult.
I drank a big glass of milk and tried to vomit but couldn’t, so I waited to see if anything would happen.
I think I only swallowed one berry, maybe two, so I didn't seek medical care.
The moral of this story, is that even old men can be fooled into eating something poison from nature.
Check and recheck anything from nature. And ask your adults before you eat something from nature.
PS: September, 19: I woke up feeling fine, so that episode is over.
Eric J. Rose