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Thread: wild grapes and look alikes

  1. #1

    Default wild grapes and look alikes

    I made an overly eager beginner forager mistake yesterday. I found what were clearly wild grape vines and ate a few berries. They didn't taste very good , so I only ate 2 or 3. Later I went back with a field guide and figured out that there were Virginia Creeper vines intertwined with the grape vines and that I had eaten a few Virginia Creeper berries. It turns out I had a burning sensation in my lips for the rest of the day but no other ill effects as far as I could tell. I'm not too worried because I ate so few, but it does freak me out a little to think that I mistook some poisonous berries for grapes. Has anyone else had a similar experience?


  2. #2

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    We were on a 3 day challenge and took no food or water. One of the guys swore that the floating Water Lettuce was edible. Yeah, by manatees. It has calcium oxalate in it. It felt like a thousand needles in your mouth and throat. We hadn't had a chance to boil water yet but the pain was so severe we were slurping up straight river water.

  3. #3
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    If I have ANY question on anything I try, I'll just touch it to the tip of my tongue....you can get a sensation real quick.

    But then again, I am usually pretty sure before trying....or wait till I get home to try....nothing like putting yourself in a bad position away for any possible help.
    Always save a piece to show the EMT's what you ate "This time".

    Many things need to be processed before eating....and many thing won't kill you, but don't taste very well....

    Of course I have never been hungry enough on my outings to require having to eat something I foraged.


    Hunted with an older guy (back when)....that was more of a forager than a hunter.....he seemed to still be alive, by using this method.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    No I haven't because I don't put stuff in my mouth I don't absolutely know what it is.

  5. #5

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    You were lucky. Virginia Creeper berries are poisonous and possibly fatal if eaten in quantity.
    Don't go out and mistake poison oak berries for wild white grapes.
    If we are to have another contest in…our national existence I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism & intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition & ignorance on the other…
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  6. #6

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    here on cold mountain we have Virginia creeper, Canadian moon seed, wild cucumber, all resemble grapevine. just remember that grapes are never black. wild cucumber is edible but the fruits have glockets (NEEDLES) the seed pods look like fuzzy snow peas. the muskadine has lobed leaves

  7. #7

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    I should add that wild grapes fall from the vine in the fall. the clusters fall and will have numerous dried "raisins" on the branchy stems. they are red purple in color, as all wild grapes are, most grape vines have reddish colorations on the main vine stem and leaf stems. the mature vine has shreddy, loose bark that is dark chocolate brown, and strongly resembles clematis.

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    Even too much green or slightly moldy "edible" fruit can require some Imodium AD. Don't leave home without it or you could become severely dehydrated with a burning sensation below...

    About 15+ years ago I planted several good cultivars of grafted grapes in my backyard but then after many years decided they were too much work just to feed the birds... so I attempted to cut them down, but some root stock grew back with a vengeance. Now I have tiny bitter tasting grapes that even the mocking birds don't seem to like. Wild persimmons are similar. Eat just a few or you may be sorry. Swim in a river or lake with you mouth shut very tight, once a friend had some meds that got me out of trouble due to this because I did not chech my FAK very carefully before going into the wilderness.

    But I always check the branch a fruit, leaf, root is connected to. Then review it in a field guide. Prepare it carefully at least wash off the bird poop and rabid raccoon slobber, cut off or chew around the bird pecked parts...

    Edit: roots get all tangled up underground as well, some will just reduce the oxygen in your blood and make you dizzy, others will kill you fast, but to a novice they all look very similar so follow the stems down carefully.
    Last edited by TXyakr; 09-29-2015 at 05:52 AM. Reason: Root confusion

  9. #9

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    There ARE poisonous mushrooms that just a touch on the tongue will kill you, I advise looking them up, but also, not tasting mushrooms in general, at least until after you've verified them. There's also a lot of look alike mushroom species, my father always told me, never assume it's what you think it is without a spore print. There very few mushrooms my father will just eat, without taking a spore print.

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  10. #10

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    Moonseed is most commonly mistaken for wild grape, they often grow together in Urban environments

  11. #11

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    I found what were clearly wild grape vines and ate a few berries.
    Virginia Creeper doesn't look like any grape leaf I have ever seen. We have 4 species of grapes. But, muscadine is the most familiar. Still you have to get to them early as the birds and other animals work pretty quick.

    There ARE poisonous mushrooms that just a touch on the tongue will kill you
    The Death Cap is reportedly the deadliest mushroom and it is stated the minimum lethal dose is 30 grams or 1 oz. Which is half of the typical mushroom.

    The primary toxic agent is α-amanitin (amatoxin). As mentioned this causes irreversible damage to the liver and kidneys.
    It is estimated that 30 grams (1oz) or approx. half a mushroom is enough to kill an adult. It seems that many of the reported poisoning incidents involve whole families; in 2006 a Polish family of three ate death caps. One died and the two survivors required liver transplants. In such cases it seems that victims have a 50% chance of survival as was the case with four people celebrating New Years in Australia and a more recent case involving a couple in the UK.
    http://www.planetdeadly.com/nature/poisonous-mushrooms

    I am not in anyway advocating sticking things in your mouth that you are unaware of what they are. But, I don't know of a single thing that grows in a natural state that can kill you by touching it for a second to your tongue. Water Hemlock requires at least a pea sized piece of the root for the risk of death. That isn't going to be ingested even by licking the root.

    I am not advocating. I am asking. Is there evidence that touching your tongue with a suspected edible can kill?

  12. #12

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    Might not want to try licking some frogs and toads...
    If we are to have another contest in…our national existence I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's, but between patriotism & intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition & ignorance on the other…
    ~ President Ulysses S. Grant

  13. #13
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    That's for sure. You'd wind up with a bunch of princes following you around. Oh, wait, that's kiss. Never mind.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I would rather just keep the talking frog....That's kinda cool....to keep in your pocket....
    Princes are expensive.
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    You think princes are expensive? You should see what a princess cost nowadays.
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  16. #16

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    I'm not attempting to sell something for someone but I have to suggest the "Idiot's Guide: Foraging." It is by far the best identification and foraging book I have ever used, it has multiple full color photos of each species of plant or mushroom, and very vivid descriptions, plus a map of the United states that shows where it's known to naturally grow so you don't waste time looking for something not in your area, the only downside I've found is there is a small amount of plants I wish were listed, and there are only 70 species covered in the book, but there are even recipes, and notes to avoid harming yourself and getting sick, I picked up a copy for around 15 bucks from amazon. I highly recommend the book if you're in the United states. Also I should mention mostly all the plants, trees, and mushrooms listed are very common nearly everywhere, with very few exceptions.

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