There is a whole bunch of stuff in our lives that can literally kill us. There are also a whole bunch of people (lived before us) who basically made a list of what to avoid if you want to have a longer and prosperous life. That list contains anything and everything, including wild berries and fruits that, although look tempting when you are hungry, can end your life in a hearth beat if not careful.
Since this topic is all about fruits that we should all be careful of, we have to mention the people before us who basically discovered which ones are poisonous and bad for you, but remained persistent in harvesting, boiling, roasting, and preparing them in a way that made them edible and safe. This list will reveal some of those dangerous fruits that can be found in forests, in your vacation sites or even close as in your back yard.
#1 Yellow star fruit
This fruit is actually awesome, it has a great taste and it has some health benefits tied to it. It is actually low in calories, high in fibre, and loaded with vitamin C, but it also has a down side. Anyone who has problems with weak kidneys and uses some prescription medication should consult their doctor before consuming this fruit. Thanks to its high amounts of oxalates it can really mess up your, already, weak kidneys and if you consume it in large quantities it can lead to kidney damage, seizures, and even death.
#2 Ackee fruit
Some of you have actually tried this fruit, but you were actually unaware that this is one of the riskiest fruits on the planet. Ackee fruit is Jamaica’s national fruit and it has to be prepared and eaten in a certain fashion in order to avoid what is called Jamaican Vomiting Sickness, which can even lead to coma, hypoglycaemia, or death. This fruit is dangerous both when ripe and not, because of its poison called hypoglycin, which is why you should really choose who you get these from. Accurate preparation and consumption is crucial.
Now this may confuse you, but most of Elderberries (and its varieties) are actually poisonous if not eaten or prepared in a right way. They contain something called a cyanide-inducing glycoside which is located in the roots, stems, leaves, and seeds. This leads to a cyanide build up which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, or death. If you properly harvest and cook these, they are actually pretty tasty and often used in syrups, jams, pies and it can be even used to make a great wine.
#4 Apricot kernels
These are located within the pit of an apricot and it looks very similar to an almond. Some believe that this actually cures cancer and other diseases which is why apricot kernels have been used for years in some cultures for cooking. What is dangerous in Apricot kernels is the substance amygdalin, also called laetrile. This substance converts in cyanide in the body, and some time before it was marketed as an alternative medicine and given the name Vitamin B17. Needless to say, that high enough dosage will cause the body to produce enough cyanide to lead to nervousness, insomnia, low blood pressure, and death.
This fruit is found on the Florida coast and throughout the Caribbean and are referred to as “little apples of death.” What is even more interesting is the fact that not only the fruit will kill you, but the entire manchineel tree is so toxic that, any part of it, will cause you serious problems. The milky sap from the tree can actually blister and burn the skin on contact, and if its branches are used for a bonfire, the fumes that are produced during the process can lead to blindness. Thanks to all of this the Manchineel tree made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the most dangerous tree on planet. As far as Manchineel apples are considered, eating even a slight bit will lead to vomiting, damage to the digestive tract, and death.
#6 European spindle
This is one of those plants that are found pretty much anywhere in Europe – parks, forests, and alongside roads. When it blossoms, it develops these alluring pinkish-red pods, that, when ripe, open into white seeds with an orange coating. In nature it is often the case that anything looking good and alluring is basically going to kill you within a heartbeat. This is the case with the European spindle. Thanks to an extremely high dose of several glycoside poisons, when eaten spindles will cause vomiting, dizziness, hallucinations, kidney failure, and death. The worst thing here is that first symptoms appear only 12-18 hours after you already ate these, so when you actually get sick, you might not remember which plant or berry you took. The only thing that this is good for is treatment against parasites, lice, and ticks via the oil obtained from the seed.
#7 Pangium edule fruit
Pangium edule fruit, or football fruit as well, is native to the Southeast Asia and it is another fruit that has to be prepared in a certain fashion in order to be able to consume it without any health consequences. Although the fruit, as well as its tree and leaves, consist hydrocyanic acid that can cause sleepiness, delirium, and death, this fruit is used in many Indonesian dishes. The only catch here is to prepare it in a right way – boiled down or fermented until the poison is removed. It is also used to kill parasites, treat boils, and preserve fish.
The Jatropha tree can be found anywhere around the world with a tropical or sub-tropical climate. It consists of sweet and yellow berries, which inside hide poisonous black seeds that are filled with the toxin, ricin. If you ingested seeds can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney damage. What is more interesting is that this seed was used as a medicine for colic, cramps, and constipation in rural villages for a long time.
#9 Yew berries
These berries grow in a Yew Shrub which is a popular plant in home landscaping all over the world. This is mainly because this shrub looks nice, it is easy to care about, has evergreen nature, and drought-resistance. It produces little red berries that contain a seed which is highly poisonous. The poisonous part is hidden in the seed of the plant and it is the toxin called taxins, and the taxol. Interestingly enough, it seems that some birds can actually enjoy eating these berries, but they do not mess with the seeds which, basically, get passed intact in their droppings.
Names like “snakewood” and “poison nut,” surely don’t encourage you enough to try and taste the fruits of this tree. The Strychnine tree is native to Australia and Southeast Asia, but it really shined in Europe, where the toxic fruits that grow on it basically helped Europe get rid of it horrible rat infestation that brought the bubonic plague. Funny enough the fruits were used for medical uses some time, but this fruit was the go-to murder weapon of choice for villains in books and some of them in real life. The fruit produces the poison called strychnine which leads to manic convulsions of the body that can be so severe that muscle tears away from bone.
Yes, we are aware that this is technically a vegetable, but thanks to its often preparation as a fruit it had to go in this list. You all probably had a taste of your granny’s strawberry-rhubarb pie, right? Well, have your granny ever mentioned that the rhubarb leaves are actually poisonous? Yes, you read right! Thanks to the glycosides and oxalates in rhubarb’s leaves you can suffer burning of the throat and mouth, stomach pain, kidney troubles, and even coma (if you eat a lot of these). The edible part of this is its stalk alone that gives a particular sweet and sour flavour in anything you put it.
#12 Asparagus berries
Another great looking berry and another one that is highly risky. Some of you probably grow Asparagus plants and didn’t know that parts of that plant are poisonous including those tasty looking berries. Thankfully the toxicity of this plant isn’t as significant as some on this list. It simply causes upset stomach if eaten and skin irritation if touched. Another FIY is not to eat the young shoots of the asparagus plant raw.
Many out there consider Cashews a nut, but they are technically a seed, that funny enough grow on the outer, bottom end of its host. The part that we all eat is (Cashew) is shrouded by a toxic hull that must be roasted off before the “raw” cashew can be extracted. After that you have two options – roast the Cashew or eat it raw because it is safe now. The cashew-apple is actually very popular in its native Brazil and it is used to make a bellowed beverage called suco de caju. Since Cashew apples are too delicate for transportation they are only sold in places where it grows.