- White, green, and yellow berries. Nearly all are poisonous.
- Never eat the berry (or the leaves) from a plant that has a milky sap.
- 50% of red berries are poisonous, so unless you can positively identify it, it is not worth the risk to eat it.
- Avoid any leaves or seeds with an almond-like scent, a characteristic of cyanide compounds.
- 70% of soft berries are safe. So (red and soft) improves your odds.
- 90% of purple, blue, and black berries are safe.
- Aggregate berries (small fruit pieces joined tightly together at a base to make a larger fruit) such as raspberries and blackberries are almost always safe to eat.
- Edible plants that taste bitter, such as acorns, should be boiled in several changes of water in order to remove the tanic acid.
Survival expert, Mykel Hawke , gives this handy mnemonic for remembering which berries are safe to eat in the wild.
“White and yellow, kill a fellow.
Purple and blue, good for you.
Red… could be good, could be dead.”