Blueberries, strawberries and many other fruits are tasty and edible, but some weeds that produce berries are dangerously poisonous. Eating the wrong plant parts could lead to violent pain, perhaps even death. Proper identification of poisonous, berry-bearing weeds is essential if you're going to eliminate them from your outdoor spaces.
Pokeweed (Phytolacca) is a tall, bushy weed that grows up to 5 feet high. The purplish stems resemble rhubarb, but pokeweed is certainly not edible. The grapelike berries grow in clusters, turning white to green to pink to purple as they ripen. Even a few berries, when ingested, may cause severe stomach pain, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. Pokeweed grows in open and wooded areas, in a variety of soils. The plant may be difficult to remove due to the deep taproot, but applications of glyphosate and dicamba pesticides are effective in killing pokeweed.
American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) produces yellow-orange berries at the junctures of stems and leaves. The berries are toxic and should not be eaten. American bittersweet is an invasive vining plant. Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) is fatally poisonous. The vine is a member of the same plant family as potatoes and tomatoes, but bittersweet nightshade is violently toxic. The juices of the leaves are deadly, but the berries should not be ingested either. Ripening from green to red to purple, the berries may cause violent illness and could be fatal to children.
Horse nettle (Solanum carolinense) grows natively throughout the United States. The plant produces attractive white and purple flowers. The berries, which look like yellow cherry tomatoes, are poisonous and must not be ingested. Even touching the plant may cause a toxic reaction with skin, creating a rash.
Jimson weed (Datura stramonium) grows along roadsides and other disturbed ares. The fruits are covered with a hard, brown shell with multiple spines protruding from it. The appearance of the fruits does not encouraging eating, but they are not toxic. The seeds found inside the fruits, however, are highly toxic and may create severe illness when ingested.