Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Tell If a Wild Berry Is Edible or Non-Edible?

...
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Many berries that grow in the wild are tasty and harmless if eaten. If you are on a hiking trip or camping in the wild, and stumble upon a bush full of luscious looking berries, you may be tempted to eat a handful. Although many are safe to eat, be aware that some berries are poisonous. Stay safe in the wild by knowing if a berry is edible or non-edible.

Examine the wild berry and the plant that it is growing on. Note the size, shape and color of the berry. Count the number of leaves on one of the branches. Check the size and shape of the leaves, along with the color. Stay away from berries that are white or yellow.

  • Many berries that grow in the wild are tasty and harmless if eaten.
  • Stay safe in the wild by knowing if a berry is edible or non-edible.

Consult a field guide to find a description of the berries and plant. Use a field guide that has color photos in order to make identification more accurate. Compare the physical characteristics that you have noted about the berries and plant with the information in the field guide. Use the comparison to determine if the berry is edible or non-edible.

Eat just one or two of the berries if you have established that the berries are edible. Use purified bottled water to rinse the fruit before you eat it. Wait at least two hours for the berries to digest in case you have a reaction to the fruit before eating additional berries.

  • Consult a field guide to find a description of the berries and plant.
  • Wait at least two hours for the berries to digest in case you have a reaction to the fruit before eating additional berries.

Wild Berry Trees And Shrubs

Both shrubs and trees produce a rainbow of wild berries. Don't eat wild berries unless you can properly identify the plant. Plums have a sweet, yet slightly acidic, flavor. The size and shape of the berries varies greatly. Wild raspberry shrubs produce a wide variety of berries, depending on the species. Latham, Royalty, Bristol, Allen and Black Hawk are just a few of the many summer-bearing raspberry bushes. Most bushes grow sweet berries, but some types, such as Brandywine, have a slightly sour taste. Elderberries grow on shrubs reaching 4 to 12 feet tall. Sandcherry shrubs grow 1 to 5 feet tall and produce round or oblong-shaped purplish-black berries in summer.

  • Both shrubs and trees produce a rainbow of wild berries.
  • Most bushes grow sweet berries, but some types, such as Brandywine, have a slightly sour taste.

Warning

Do not use a field guide to determine if a wild berry is poisonous after you have eaten it. If you think that you may have eaten something questionable, get help immediately. Contact the nearest poison control center at once and give detailed information about the berry.

Related Articles

How to Identify Berry Plants
How to Identify Berry Plants
Kinds of Berry Trees
Kinds of Berry Trees
How to Identify Currant Berries
How to Identify Currant Berries
How to Grow Elderberry Bushes
How to Grow Elderberry Bushes
How to Identify Juniper Berries
How to Identify Juniper Berries
When Do Huckleberries Ripen?
When Do Huckleberries Ripen?
Blackberry vs. Dewberry Fruit
Blackberry vs. Dewberry Fruit
How to Identify Texas Wild Berries
How to Identify Texas Wild Berries
Identification of the Leaf of a Berry Plant or Bush
Identification of the Leaf of a Berry Plant or Bush
Varieties of Holly Bushes
Varieties of Holly Bushes
Differences Between Elderberries & Chokecherries
Differences Between Elderberries & Chokecherries
How to Care for Elderberry Bushes
How to Care for Elderberry Bushes
Trees That Produce Black Berries
Trees That Produce Black Berries
Blackberries Vs. Black Raspberries
Blackberries Vs. Black Raspberries
How to Identify Shrubs With Berries
How to Identify Shrubs With Berries
Berry Leaf Identification
Berry Leaf Identification
To What Type of Plants or Fruits Are Strawberries Closely Related?
To What Type of Plants or Fruits Are Strawberries Closely...
Elderberry Leaf Identification
Elderberry Leaf Identification
Garden Guides
×