8 Deadly Trail Snacks You Need to Stay Away From

Of course, you should know better than to let your stomach be the decision maker, especially if it puts your life in danger. But in those life-or-death instances, ingesting the plants around you might be the only option.

Yet, you can’t just judge a plant’s edibility level just by looking at it. Looks can be deceiving, even in the wild. And Mother Nature sure hasn’t provided us with a natural vending machine.

To help on your next hike, we selected some of the most deadly yet delicious-looking specimens in North America. They are items you should never eat. Believe us, these are plants not even Bear Grylls would consider. And that guy will eat anything.


Jack-in-the-Pulpit seed berries.

Official name: Arisaema triphyllum
Eastern North America
Why it’s deceptive: 
When not in bloom, it closely resembles that irritating poison ivy plant. Oh… and when it has bloomed the seeds look particularly appetizing, especially if you’re a fruit lover.  
Why it’s deadly: 
The roots actually prove to be the most dangerous part of the plant. If eaten raw, it causes a powerful burning sensation and irritation of the mouth and digestive system.

Jimson Weed

Jimson Weed: Do not eat.

Official name: Datura stramonium
Location: Warm and moderate environments worldwide
Why it’s deceptive: 
It’s just so darned pretty. Also, some may think it harmless due to its use in several religious ceremonies. 
Why it’s deadly: 
Overdose may result in hospitalization and death. The Datura intoxication can cause the inability to differentiate between reality and fantasy, bizarre and possibly violent behavior and severe pupil dilation resulting in painful sensitivity to the light. The effects of this poison can last for several days.


Do not eat these pseudo-grapes.

Official name: Menispermum
Eastern North America 
Why it’s deceptive: 
The fruit it produces looks similar to grapes. Enough said. 
Why it’s deadly: 
Upon ingestion, it will give you ridiculous amounts of abdominal pain and indigestion, which could lead to paralysis and even death.


Raisins are not the best friend of dogs.

Official name: Raisins 
In your bag of trail mix
Why it’s deceptive: 
Raisins, deadly? Perhaps those shriveled up grapes are deadly delicious. Raisins are just flat-out unsuspecting. 
Why it’s deadly:
 While they pose no harm for humans, raisins can sure be deadly to your four-legged travel companion. Even Snopes.com says so. Raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure in canines, and, well, we all know that’s not very good.

Stream Water

Streams are teeming with bacteria and parasites.

Official name: H20 
Location: Probably your closest water resource
Why it’s deceptive: 
It just looks refreshing, especially when you are particularly parched. 
Why it’s deadly: 
Just because you can’t see the bacteria and parasites swimming around in the stream doesn’t mean they aren’t there. These microscopic pests can cause a number of uncomfortable occurrences in your body, including flu-like symptoms, typhoid fever, Toxoplasmosis, food poisoning, month-long stomach cramps and cardiac failure.

Water hemlock

Official name: Cicuta
Temperate Northern Hemisphere regions (mainly North America and Europe)
Why it’s deceptive: 
It can easily be mistaken for edible plants such as sweet flag, kvanne, wild celery, pignut, wild carrot, watercress, wild ginseng, wild parsnip and water parsnip. 
Why it’s deadly: 
The nasty laundry list of symptoms associated with this plant can be observed as early as 15 minutes after ingestion. Initial symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, tremors, confusion, weakness, dizziness and drowsiness. Then come the seizures, which can lead to increased body temperature, kidney failure, swelling in the brain, hallucinations, delirium, muscle breakdown, decrease in the blood pH and tingling and prickling sensations. Death can occur just hours after consumption, usually due to respiratory failure or ventricular fibrillation secondary to ongoing seizure activity. 

Wild Mushrooms

Official name: Amanitas, Helvella and Gyromitra spp., Little Brown Mushrooms
Why it’s deceptive: 
The poisonous mushrooms look too much like the edible mushrooms. Don’t be hoodwinked — these aren’t your run-of-the-mill veggies found in your friendly grocery store. 
Why it’s deadly:
 Amanitas account for almost 90 percent of all mushroom-related deaths. And then there’s the false morels and the little brown mushrooms (better known as LBMS on the street). The worst part about ingesting bad ‘schrooms? Sometimes the effects don’t show for several days. That means by the time you figure out your “d’oh” moment, it is too late.

White Snakeroot

Don’t eat this plant. And don’t let your cows eat it.

Official name: Ageratina altissima
Location: Eastern North America
Why it’s deceptive: 
When the plants are consumed by cattle, their meat and milk becomes contaminated with the toxin. You may not even know that you have ingested the poison until you start to exhibit symptoms. 
Why it’s deadly: 
The sickness associated with this poison, milk sickness, is said to have caused the death of a number of early settlers, most notably the mother of Abraham Lincoln. Signs may include loss of appetite, abdominal pain, violent vomiting, constipation, severe thirst, coma, delirium and tremors.

Source: Hiking Boots News

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