I spotted an ‘unknown’ berry a few weeks back, however not knowing the name of the berry doesn’t mean I’m not aware of when its prime time for picking is, so I had set out today to get a few, in hopes of bringing home and researching. As I was harvesting the fells, a grandma and her two grand-kids passed me and she asked ‘Are those berries edible?’ to which I replied, I was pretty sure the berries weren’t poisonous, but there was something odd about them that pointed to toxicity, so I’d be researching when I got home, as I was pretty sure they were soap berries or something to that effect.. She correctly nomenclatured them as Yew berries, which, I was correct, the berry itself is completely harmless, however as little as THREE of the seeds can do incredible harm! Even the foliage itself can kill you!
“The entire yew bush, except the aril (the red flesh of the berry covering the seed), is poisonous. It is toxic due to a group of chemicals called taxine alkaloids. Their cardiotoxicity is well known and act via calcium and sodium channel antagonism, causing an increase in cytoplasmic calcium currents of the myocardial cells. The seeds contains the highest concentrations of these alkaloids. If any leaves or seeds of the plant are ingested, urgent medical advice is recommended as well as observation for at least 6 hours after the point of ingestion. “
These plants are located right between the new dog park and playground on Richter. With that in mind, all I can say be aware of the plants around you and watch your pets and kids!
Now that being said, everything in moderation!!! This plant, in controlled dosages, is a beneficial plant for extreme conditions, such as cancer and tapeworms. For more on that, click here!