Dangerous Edible and Toxic Plant List

Updated: 12/6/2023

Dangerous Edible and Toxic Plant List below:

Click here for Edible Plant List

Toxic Plants



BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL of Common tansy or tansy wort – Yellow flower plant with spongy looking flower tips. This plant is extremely TOXIC.

I tried to use more than one source when gathering this Information. Therefore, the info could be wrong with no intentions of giving wrong information.

Multiple pictures of each plant may help you as well.

M = Menopause, menstrual, etc.
B = Blood sugar

Arnica, Mountain Tobacco, Leopard’s BANE, WOLF’s Bane. Kind of looks like Arrowleaf balsam-root – TOXIC.

Arrow Arum (Peltandra virginica) – Looks similar but can be easily distinguished by looking at the leaf veins and rounded leaf lobes – appears to be TOXIC? If there are many leaf veins radiating outward, then it is Arrowhead and it is safe to eat. Pointed leaf lobes appear to be safe.

Baneberry – All parts are poisonous (Is the Red Baneberry in Idaho?)

Beargrass (Part of the Lily family? TOXIC?) – Rhizomes are edible roasted or boiled. Mildly TOXIC to dogs. Chewed root applied to wounds. Roots stop bleeding. Leaves can be used to make a basket, hats, etc.

Bitterbrush – TOXIC? All parts TOXIC except for the aril?

Bitterroot – Are the boiled roots edible? Sap has TOXIC cardiac glycosides (heart problems?)

(M, B) Bittersweet root – Edible root (can be stored – COMMON in MONTANA? There appears to be different variations of the flowers. Dangerous cardiac glycosides could be in the sap, which are known to disrupt the natural rhythm of the heart muscle. Are the glycosides destroyed by cooking? Can be used to calm nerves, help heart (yet cardiac glycosides are bad for heart?), regulate blood sugar, settle stomachaches, detoxify body, and purify skin.

Blanket flower – Seeds can be used. All other parts appear to be a skin irritant.

Bracken – Triangular shaped fern. Mature bracken destroys vitamin B and can cause a blood condition.

Blue Lettuce – Young leaves are edible raw or cooked (CAUTION. narcotic and sedative properties. Cardiac arrest and/or death possible). Probably use in very small doses and if experienced with the plant and/or a last resort for food.

(M) Bugleweed (Mints family) – A source online says TOXIC, whereas WebMD says possibly safe. Roots, tubers, and very young shoots appears to be edible. Are leaves edible as well? Long-term use includes enlarged thyroid gland. Can be used for treatment of nosebleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding, and coughs. It has also been used as a sedative, astringent, mild narcotic, and for tuberculosis characterized by bleeding from the lungs. Pregnant women should avoid as it affects hormone levels.

(B) Burdock – Burdock is considered safe (can resemble belladonna nightshade, though?). Roots, flower-spikes, and leaves appear to be edible. However, nightshade doesn’t get purple and green burrs, but leaves can look similar.

Butter cup – Almost never fatal, but TOXIC.

Camas (Blue and can be white-flowered? vs. whitish death camas?) – The bulbs of camassia species are nutritious when roasted or boiled, don’t confuse with the TOXIC white-flowered meadow death-camas. Sometimes they grow in same area. Bulbs can be mistaken.

(M) Catnip – Leaves and flowers can be used when fresh or dried, and while taken in small amounts. Unsafe smoked or taken in large doses. Tea used can be to stimulate gallbladder, soothe digestive tract, and provide relief from menstrual cramps.

Cascara Sagrada, Buckthorn – TOXIC

Chicory (Asteraceae (Cichorium intybus L.)) – Fairly safe in small amounts. Excessive and/or prolonged use may damage retinas and cause sluggish digestion. Not safe during pregnancy. Can lead to rapid heartbeat, liver and gallbladder disorders, loss of appetite, consipation, and upset stomach.

Choke Cherries – Edible fruit but the seeds are toxic. Contains disease-fighting antioxidants. Leaves are not edible. Seeds contain cyanide. Helps calm fever, asthma, scrofula, bronchitis, allays coughs, and respiratory nerves. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL.

Club moss, Huperzia (Lycopodiaceae, Huperzia lucidula (Michx) Trevisan, H. selago L.) – Not edible. Has medicinal uses but CAUTION is Advised.

Cocklebur – Seeds poisonous. Are the leaves as well? Source says edible, but appears TOXIC.

Coltsfoot (two variations – white flowers plant and yellow flowers plant) – TOXIC compounds linked to liver damage and cancer.

Comfrey – Dangerous due to pyrrolizidine alkaloids? Please be careful.

Common tansy or tansy wort – Source says this is edible, whereas an internet search says 10 drops can kill someone. Appears TOXIC.

Common milkweed – TOXIC? Be careful eating. Are young seedpods, leaves, and shoots edible cooked? White sap contains alkaloids, cardenolides, and latex among other things.

Corn Lily – Plant is highly TOXIC and potentially fatal.

Cow-lily, Yellow-pond lily, or Spadderdock- TOXIC (part of Lily family?) Seeds are edible after drying and popping. Rhizome is edible after prolonged boiling.

Death camas – EXTREMELY TOXIC. It appears common camas can have blue and/or white flowers? Death camas apparently always has white flowers. Common camas and death camas supposedly can grow in same areas like tabletops.

Devils club – Roots and shoots are supposedly edible while other sources say they aren’t. Berries are not edible. Stay away unless really hungry.

Dogbane – TOXIC glycosides. Can cause heart failure and probably other problems. Especially TOXIC to dogs.

Dogwood – TOXIC in pacific northwest or so it appears. Dogwoods all have berries but not all are edible. Flowering dogwood is not edible.

Elderberry – Leaves, stems, bark, and roots can cause cyanide poisoning. Are blue flowers and fruits edible when cooked? Is the plant better for medicinal use? Red-colored berries appear to be more dangerous? Can be used for the flu, colds, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, improving heart function, fevers, hay fever, allergies, etc.

Elephant-head lousewort – Louseworts can be eaten in small quantities in an emergency, but can contain enough poisonous glycosides to cause severe illness if they are eaten in quantity.

False Solomon’s seal – Are all parts dangerous?

Fireweed – All parts are TOXIC?

Fitweed – TOXIC to livestock but not people. Try to avoid unless hungry.

Fragrant water-lily – TOXIC (part of the Lily family)? The fragrant water-lily has both medicinal and edible parts. The seeds, leaves, flowers and rhizomes can all be eaten. Helps to treat colds and coughs.

Glacier Lily – TOXIC? (Part of Lily family). Corms (similar to roots) are edible raw or cooked (can cause nausea?). Are leaves or flowers edible, raw or cooked? Highly TOXIC to pets.

Goatsbeard – TOXIC

Ground Ivy – In small doses (TOXIC to horses)

Hawthorne Berries – Edible but don’t eat seed. (It appears seeds of berries contain cyanide?)

Horsetail, Scouring rush, Equisetum, etc. – Book source says edible. Poisonous to cattle? Are shoots, tips, and roots edible cooked? BE CAREFUL. Can be used to clean pots and pans. Poultice of stem used to treat armpit and/or groin rashes. Can be applied externally for wounds and burns, internally for urinary tract infections (UTI’s), and for kidney and bladder stones.

Hound’s tongue – Permanent liver damage

Indian pipe – Mildly TOXIC and a hallucinogenic.

Juniper – Dried berries can be cooked. Large amounts may be TOXIC. If kidney disease or kidney infection is suspected, do not use. All juniper contains thujone. Oil can cause diarrhea, stomach upset, and kidney problems in large quantities.

(M) Klamath Weed or St. Johnswort – Plant has medicinal properties but doesn’t appear edible. Can be used for mild depression, anxiety, and menopausal symptoms. Can interact with medications and cause serious side effects (assuming other plants can do the same as well).

Largeflower Triteleia a.k.a Wild Hyacinth – DO NOT confuse with poisonous “Mountain Death-Camas.” Multiple sources say TOXIC. If hungry, corms are edible – should one cook to avoid eating oxalates? Are seed pods edible?

Larkspurs – TOXIC

Lobelia – Not used as food as the plant is TOXIC. Can be used for drug addictions but only under expert care.

Locoweed – Generally not TOXIC for humans. Horses can become addictive and even die.

Lupines – TOXIC

(M) Maidenfern – Edible in small amounts. Can be used for bronchitis, coughs, whooping cough, and heavy menstruation with cramps. It is also used to loosen chest congestion.

Mariposa or Sego Lily. (Part of the Lily family and therefore potentially toxic.) – Bulb possible edible, raw or cooked. Flower buds possibly edible raw. Leaves possibly edible cooked.

Merten’s Bluebell or Tall Bluebell (Mertensia paniculata) – TOXIC? Flowers possibly edible raw. Leaves possibly edible, raw or cooked. The leaves are rather hairy and are not so nice when eaten raw.

Milkweeds – Plant is poisonous raw. Young shoots, leaves and seed pods are all edible cooked. BE CAREFUL.

Monkshood – Extremely TOXIC if eaten.

Mountain Laurel – Extremely TOXIC

(B) Mountain Ash – The berries may be used fresh, dried, or cooked and then dried. People take mountain ash for diabetes, diarrhea, gout, heart disease, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific research to support any of these uses. Eating large amounts of fresh mountain ash berries can also be unsafe. Moreover, eating large amounts can cause stomach irritation and pain, vomiting, queasiness, diarrhea, kidney damage, and other side effects.

Mountain Bluebell – The flowers of mountain bluebells are edible raw. The leaves are edible, raw or cooked. Does the plant have TOXIC glycosides and does cooking help? Supposedly helps with measles and small-pox.

Mustard (Brassicaceae) – One drop of the essential oil of the mustard on the skin can produce a severe burn. Seeds and leaves are generally safe. High in vitamin K and contain oxalates, and may trigger side-effects in those who take blood thinners or have oxalate-type kidney stones. Mustard is rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C and many of the B-complex vitamins. There are several health benefits of mustard for the body like relief from muscular pains, ringworm, and respiratory disorders and the plant also helps in treating cancer and diabetes.

Nightshade, Bittersweet, Climbing Nightshade (Nightshade – Solanaceae, Bittersweet – Solanum dulcamara L.)) – TOXIC and potentially fatal. Has medicinal uses but one should be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS.

Passionflower – Leaves and flowers have mild sedative properties. One can eat leaves but a source says TOXIC. Can also be used as a sleep aid.

Pearly Everlasting – Is considered dangerous to eat

Phlox (creeping phlox or eastern Washington phlox?) – sources say not poisonous nor edible. Can cause one to vomit? While low growing creeping Phlox is TOXIC, the tall type of perennial phlox (Phlox paniculata) is edible and resembles Dame’s Rocket. The main difference is phlox has five petals, while dame’s rocket has four – dame’s rocket is edible in small amounts.

Poison Ivy – Poisonous

Pokeweed – Appears to be dangerous to humans and animals.

Ponderosa Pine – Pine needles are toxic. Inner cambium layer near wood is apparently edible.

Prickly lettuce – Leaves can be eaten, raw or cooked. Can cause one to overdose, experience nausea, have a cardiac arrest, etc.

Queen’s cup – (part of the Lily family?) Be careful. Leaves are supposable edible, but berries are poisonous.

Shooting Star – Source says edible, whereas other source(s) say not edible. (The flower of shooting star looks like the poisonous Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)). Leaves and roots are edible, raw or cooked

Silky Phacelia – Is it toxic to domestic wildlife?

Smooth sumac (some are poisonous whereas others are edible) – Edible sumacs have skinny leaves and like dry ground. Moreover, the red berries are in cone-shaped clusters at the end of the main branches. The poisonous sumac has roundish leaves, with pointy ends, and grows white berries.

Spicebush – Plant has many spicy parts. Twigs and leaves can be used to make a spice. Only use berries when ripe. Seeds are not edible.

Spurge – Looks like purslane, but the plant is usually smaller than purslane. Spurge is toxic, whereas purslane is edible. (You can break the stem of a spurge, and it will ooze a sticky white liquid, called latex, whereas if you break the stem of purslane, there is no sticky white liquid.)

Steer’s head – Death in humans is rare but it can cause poisoning symptoms.

Sweet flag – potentially toxic (found in Idaho?)

Sweet gale – Are the leaves are edible raw? Are the nutlets edible in small doses whereas the oil is poisonous? Is it not good for pregnant women? The aromatic fruits and leaves are used either fresh or dried to flavor soups, stews etc. They are sometimes put in beer and ale to improve the flavor and increase foaming. The fruit is about 3mm in diameter with a single large seed. The dried leaves make a delicate and palatable tea.

Stargazer Lily (part of the Lily family) – TOXIC?

Tiger Lily (part of the Lily family) – TOXIC. Source says edible but it is part of Lily family. Caution is advised.

Toxic Horse Chestnut – TOXIC

Wet Hemlock or Poison Hemlock – DEADLY TOXIC. (Is it uncommon in Idaho and Montana?) Can look like edible Wild Carrots or Gairdner’s Yampah. Can have reddish or purple spots on stems, be hairless, and have a bad smell.

White Clover – Possibly edible but could be toxic. Leaves can be edible, raw or cooked. Root is edible cooked. Can be poisonous in warmer climates. You want your clover either completely fresh or completely dried, never in between. Can release cyanides? BE CAREFUL.

White Baneberry – TOXIC

Wild Carrot – Roots are edible, raw or cooked. BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS. LOOKS LIKE TOXIC POISON HEMLOCK which lacks hairs and has an unpleasant chemical scent with reddish or purple spots.

Wild Ginger – Plant appears to be toxic? Contains carcinogen aristolochic acid. Roots can be bound to cuts and wounds to stop bleeding and promote healing. Root can be used for respiratory problems. Beyond the high dose required for toxicity, wild ginger isn’t meant to be eaten whole. It’s most commonly used in tea, and the toxin is not particularly soluble in water. Just avoid eating the whole root, combining it with vinegar, or making an alcohol tincture, and it should be just fine.

Wild mustard – Has yellow flowers. Appears to be toxic.

Wood lilies (part of the lily family?) – Appears toxic, but a source says edible it’s: https://northernbushcraft.com/topic.php?name=wood+lily®ion=ab&ctgy=edible_plants#:~:text=flowers%2C%20seeds%20and%20bulbs%20are,mashed%20and%20dried%20for%20storage.

Yellow bells – TOXIC? The bulb of Yellow bells is edible, raw or cooked. The green seedpods can be eaten, boiled as a wild green, but are said to be bitter.

Yew Berries – aril or ‘berry’ flesh is supposedly edible; he red flesh is edible. Seed inside is deadly poisonous as with rest of the plant (other than the red flesh)

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