8 Poisonous Berries in Texas You Have To Avoid

There are too many berries in Texas. You can find it easily in wild areas as wild plants or in residential areas, such as evergreen shrubs or small trees. But, you can just get attracted by the berries through its vibrant colors, because there are poisonous berries in Texas that can give you annoying symptoms until potentially fatal effects after consuming it.

By reading and knowing how to identify the toxic plants, you will be safe from getting sick due to consuming the poisonous plant. Check out the poisonous berries in Texas that you and your family should avoid.

1. Juniper (Juniperus)

Due to its vibrant color on the berries, Junipers are evergreens commonly referred to in holidays as ornamental plants and shrubs. The needles’ foliage is similar to yew berry. Only the colors are different.

There are various Juniper varieties in Texas. Some of them are edible, yet the others are poisonous. If you ever wonder why there are toxic varieties of this tree, it is because all juniper berries contain the powerful oil Thujone.

Juniper with Fruits
Juniper with Fruits (Juniperus)
poisonous berries in texas
Juniper Tree in Raised Bed

This oil can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and kidney problems when ingested in large quantities. Moreover, if you find Juniperus sabina and Juniperus oxycedrus, never try to eat it since they are not safe for human consumption and should be avoided.

2. Holly berries (Ilex opaca)

During Christmas, having a decoration from holly berries is sweet. But, the berries are poisonous to people and pets. Therefore, you should pay attention especially to the children, so that they are not trying to eat it. Because swallowing holy berries can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and drowsiness.

Holly Berries with Fruit
Holly Berries with Fruit (Ilex opaca)
poisonous berries in texas
Holly Berries Tree

Avoiding the holly berries shrubs from the children actually is pretty easy since the trees have a signature shape of foliage that is identical to Christmas decoration. Therefore, you can teach children by separating the berries and the leaves first before you decorate for Christmas. Because we cannot lie that the color of these holy berries is very attractive.

3. American Pokeweed (Phytolacca decandra)

This shrub can reach five feet and has thick yellow-brown stems like rhubarbs. The foliage is bright green and the veins can be seen clearly. Pokeweeds and inkberries grow in clumps, reminiscent of grapes, and ripen from white to green roses to purple.

poisonous berries in texas
Pokeweed Berries Shrubs (Phytolacca decandra)
Pokeweed Berries Flowers
Pokeweed Berries Flowers

When eaten, more than 10 fruits can be harmful, although it has been used in herbal remedies and has also been used for nausea. Consuming more than 10 berries or drinking wine from pokeweed will leave many symptoms for your body. It can cause nausea, vomiting, cramping, stomach pain, diarrhea, low blood pressure, difficulty controlling urination (incontinence), thirst, and other serious side effects.

4. American bittersweet (Celastrus Scandens)

This toxic perennial vine has a contrast color between the berries and the flowers. It belongs to the wild berries since it can be found growing easily in woody areas or on rocky slopes. You can see the flowers are orange, while the berries are bright red.

poisonous berries in texas
American Bittersweet or Celastrus Scandens
American Bittersweet Fruits
American Bittersweet Fruits
poisonous berries in texas
American Bittersweet Flowers

The American bittersweet opens its capsule flowers in late fall and winter. So, it is pretty strange that you can see this beauty in winter. Yet, do not ever try to pick the fruits and eat it since it can harm your kids and pets since the alkaloids in fruit can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

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5. Yew berries (Taxus baccata)

Yew is an ever-old tree with bright white flowers shaped like a Christmas tree. This berry is a soft white capsule with soft green stone at its base. This is one of the most toxic berries in the world. Because only by eating three or four yews can cause diarrhea and nausea.

poisonous berries in texas
Yew Berries (Taxus Baccata)
Yew Berries Fruits
Yew Berries Fruits Close Up
Yew Berries Bush
Yew Berries Bush

It is not only dangerous for the humans and pets, but also the wild animals and fish. All of the parts for this tree are dangerous up to its roots. So, never try to taste this berry unless you want to struggle with the mentioned symptoms. You can easily remember the characteristics of this toxic plant by looking at the needles’ leaves and the color of the berries.

6. Mistletoe

Small round leaves, thick green stems and pearly white berries are the main characteristic of mistletoe flowers. Most mistletoe plants reach a maximum size of 12 – 18 inch.

Although the color is pure, the white berries of mistletoe will purely damage your body when you try to eat them. There is Phoratoxin inside the mistletoe berries that can cause gastrointestinal upset.

poisonous berries in texas
Mistletoe with Fruits
poisonous berries in texas

Although it is not a serious issue if you only consume a small amount of it, still, staying away from something that can make your body uncomfortable is the best thing to do. Moreover, you can get rid of this plant because initially, this one is a parasite that loves to stay and take all of the energy from the tree that they live on.

7. Jerusalem cherries (Solanum pseudocapsicum)

The Christmas berry is not about Holly berries only, but also these Jerusalem cherries. This plant is called Christmas cherry or winter cherry as well. This plant is not only poisonous but also contradictory since the name is Jerusalem but the plant is native to South America.

poisonous berries in texas
Jerusalem Cherries (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
poisonous berries in texas
Jerusalem Cherries Flower

The foliage of Jerusalem cherries is green, shiny leaves which are elliptical and about 3 inches (7.6 cm.) long. This one is a bushy evergreen shrub and the berries (although it looks like cherry tomatoes, it is berries actually) are toxic for all parts. The symptoms are fever, sweating, vomiting, stomach pain, headache and increased heart rate.

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8. Ivy berries

English ivy is native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. This one is a pretty invasive plant that can spread rapidly and may harm the native organisms  there.

poisonous berries in texas
Ivy Berries Fruits
poisonous berries in texas
Ivy Berries Shrub
poisonous berries in texas
Ivy Berries Flowers

Ivy berry is not only toxic when being consumed, but also when you get direct contact with this berry. Most people experienced dermatitis after touching this evergreen plant. Although it is quite dangerous for humans, poison ivy has good value for wildlife and is grazed by deer, the birds love to eat the berries as well.

Few steps you can take to help protect your child

The first step to avoid the poisonous berries eaten by your child is not planting the toxic ones in your garden. But, if the plants are already planted and you cannot cut it immediately, you can clean the fallen berries so that your children will not get attracted.

Also, you can set the fence around the trees. Your children will not get there if the fence is higher than them.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How can you tell if a wild berry is edible?

If you wonder if a wild berry is edible or not, you can pick one or two berries first, rinse with the water before you try to eat it. Taste the flavor thoroughly. 

If the taste is juicy and familiar, then usually, it is a good sign. Also, you can wait for 1 or 2 hours to digest the berry and see the effect on your body.

How do you know if a berry is poisonous?

You can count the number of leaves on one of the branches. Check the size and shape of the leaves, along with the color. 

Usually, the small cluster berries produce the poisonous berries. Also, stay away from the yellow or white berries. Although the berries are edible, the white berries means they are not ready to ripe. So, it is pretty toxic for you too. 

What To Do If A Child Eats Poisonous Berries?

The first one is to stay calm if you realize the children have already swallowed poisonous berries. You can give them milk or water to rinse their mouths. And then call the help to consult what to do based on the berries they ate. 

Moreover, if there is behavior changing, such as nausea or vomiting, you can call an ambulance for immediate help. Don’t bring your child to the hospital without guidance too.

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