Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind us on Pinterest

Texas is home to many plants. While some of the berries on these plants can look juicy and appetizing, they can also be deadly.  There is no simple rule to follow, such as a certain color indicating if a berry is poisonous. It is easy to be deceived by plants; one part may be edible while another part may be poisonous. Below is a list of common plants with berries that should never be eaten.
  • Daphne: a fragrant flowering shrub with bright red berry clusters
  • Jasmine: a flowering, fragrant, perennial evergreen with black berries
  • Camara Lantana: a persistent evergreen shrub that flowers year round, color ranging from white to yellow, orange to red to pink with berries that are deep blue or black when ripe.
  • Nightshade: All parts of this colorful flowering plant are toxic but especially the unripe berries. 
Prevent accidental poisonings by learning about the plants in and around your home, especially berry-producing evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. Write down the common and scientific plant names on weatherproof tags and attach them to each shrub, as this information is helpful to medical professionals in the event of a medical emergency. Click here to view a list. 
Case #1
A poison center specialist received a call from a woman who accidentally left the car running in the garage and feared she had a possible carbon monoxide exposure. She stated she was initially dizzy. The specialist recommended that the patient continue ventilating the home/garage and to stay outside. She was advised to go to the hospital if she experienced headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and advised that she contact their local fire department to check for carbon monoxide exposure. 
Case #2
A mother called the poison center because her 3 year-old daughter had picked up a few "berries" during a walk in the park and stuck them in her mouth. The mother said she quickly realized what was happening and managed to get most of the substance from her mouth. Identifying the plant professionally by taking a piece to a nursery was recommended but since the mom was able to get most of it out of the child's mouth, the specialist was able to follow up with the child from home. 


 Hunting season is rapidly approaching in Texas. Hunters, whether experienced or not, need to concentrate as much on being safe as they do on being successful.  Please read the following poison safety tips from the Texas Poison Center Network before this year's hunting season begins. 

Carbon Monoxide:  
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is a major threat to hunters each year. 
  • Hunters can be in danger if they camp and use heating devices in enclosed spaces or go back to their vehicles to warm up and accidentally fall asleep with their motors running - these too are often the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • To prevent carbon monoxide deaths:
    • Don't use open flame heaters in unventilated spaces.
    • Don't warm your hands and feet at the exhaust pipe of your vehicle.
    • Remember that fresh air is the best treatment for minor CO exposures.
  • When spending time outdoors, beware of ticks. Ticks are small bloodsucking parasites. 
  • Ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants and tuck your pants into your boots.
  • If hunting at ground level, bring along a seat to avoid sitting directly on the ground.
  • Conduct tick checks every few hours while in the field and do a more thorough tick check at the end of the hunt.
Food Safety: 
  • Tips to care for wild game meat on a warm weather hunt:
    • Take plenty of ice on your hunt in a large cooler. 
    • Store meat as soon as possible and know the signs of  spoiling meat.
    • Use rubber gloves when handling meat. 
    • Use clean & sanitary knives. 
    • Label each bag of game meat. 
    • Before butchering your meat at home, take the time to wash it carefully 
    • Wash hands as soon as possible with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. 
    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends consuming frozen wild game within 8 months.
    • If you store meat in the refrigerator, ensure the temperature is set below 40°F and eat or freeze them within 3 days.   
  • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a neurological disease affecting deer, elk, moose and other members of the deer family, known as "cervids." 
    • Hunters should take precautions to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). 
    • Minimize handling and cutting of the brain, spinal tissue, and lymph nodes of any animal killed during a hunt. 
    • In the Trans-Pecos, Panhandle & South Central areas of Texas, hunters who harvest mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, red deer, or other CWD susceptible species are REQUIRED to bring their animals to a TPWD (Texas Parks & Wildlife Department) check station within 48 hours of harvest.
  • Brucellosis s a bacterial disease associated with touching the blood, fluid, or tissue from an infected animal  and coming in contact with your eyes, nose, mouth, or skin
    • This can happen when you are involved in hunting-related activities.
    • Feral Hogs are carriers that can infect humans and pets. 
    • Feral Hog numbers are increasing despite population control efforts. 
    • Do not touch a hog carcass with your bare hands. 
    • Signs and symptoms of brucellosis can take up to months to appear and can include fever, chills, sweating, headache, low appetite, fatigue, and joint or muscle pain.
Hunting product safety:
  • There are many products, such as scent killers or synthetic urine to deter or lure wild game.
  • These products, if ingested or used incorrectly, can cause unintentional poisonings in children.
  • Lead ammunition is still widely used for hunting and shooting, which can lead to lead dust exposure. 
  • Keep hunting products up away & out of the reach of children.
  • Store gun bluing and other gun cleaning products in a locked cabinet. 
Want more poison information???
Don't forget to check out the Texas Poison Center Network's blog!