Top 10 Most Poisonous Fruits In The World
Poisonous Fruits. Photo: Mixi

In various parts of the world, there are plenty of fascinating, delicious fruits. However, there are also a lot of fruits considered to be poisonous and harmful to our health.

While some of these fruits may look appealing, looks could be deceiving. Some of them you may have heard of and didn't know had severe side effects. Some of them you might've seen while traveling in a foreign country. But no matter where you've learned about these different fruits, here is everything you need to know about them, including why they are harmful to your health.

The List of 10 Most Poisonous Fruits in the World

1. Strychnine Fruit Plant

2. Yew Berry Tree

3. Jatropha Fruit

4. Yellow Star Fruit

5. Elderberries

6. Manchineel

7. European Spindle Tree

8. Sea Buckthorn Berries

9. Winterberry

9. Winterberry

10. Apricot Kernels

Which are the Most Poisonous Fruits in the World?

1. Strychnine Fruit Plant

Photo: The Poison Diaries - Tumblr
Photo: The Poison Diaries - Tumblr

The strychnine tree may be native to Australia and Southeast Asia, but it was in Europe where it really saved the day, as the toxic plant was the chief ingredient in the rat poison used to curb the scourge of the bubonic plague.

Other common names for the strychnine tree are “snakewood” and “poison nut,” referring; no doubt, to the toxic berries the tree produces.

It’s been used for centuries for medical uses but is perhaps most well known for being the murder weapon of choice for villains in works of fiction, as well as in real life over the course of history.

Ingestion of strychnine leads to manic convulsions of the body that can be so severe that muscle tears away from the bone. Victims are said to have achieved bodily positions that would not be possible otherwise, with death following from exhaustion or cardiac arrest.

2. Yew Berry Tree

Photo: Kew Gardens
Photo: Kew Gardens

This tree has gorgeous blood-red berries and can be found throughout North America, Europe and parts of the Middle East. The yew tree looks innocent — it’s just a typical shrub with green leaves.

But while the bright red berries themselves aren’t poisonous, the bark, seeds and leaves are known for decimating livestock and can also be deadly to humans.

Less severe symptoms of yew berry poisoning include diarrhoea, headache, dizziness, muscle weakness, stomach pain, vomiting, trembling and dilated pupils, while the scarier symptoms include extreme difficulty breathing, coma, convulsions, irregular heartbeat and, of course, death.

3. Jatropha Fruit

Photo: Feedipedia
Photo: Feedipedia

Due to the hardy nature of this tree-like shrub, you can find jatropha trees in all corners of the world with tropical or sub-tropical climates.

The Indian variety of the plant has proven to be particularly problematic, with high incidences of poisoning in children who are drawn to the sweet, yellow berries, with their poisonous black seeds that are filled with the toxin, ricin.

When ingested, jatropha seeds can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and kidney damage.

Used for years as a medicine for colic, cramps, and constipation in rural villages, jatropha enjoyed 15 minutes of fame in recent years when it was forecasted to be the next big thing in biofuel.

Sadly for jatropha, and the many farmers who invested in planting it, jatropha as a biofuel was a bust, leaving the world with that many more poisonous plants to contend with.

4. Yellow Star Fruit

Photo: Mashed
Photo: Mashed

Star fruit is a sweet and sour fruit with edible skin and nutritional elements. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and loaded with vitamin C.

However if you have kidney problems, you may want to reconsider eating this fruit. The yellow star fruit contains high amounts of oxalates that makes it dangerous for people with kidney issues. Overeating of it could cause kidney damage, seizures, and even death.

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5. Elderberries

Photo: Sci-News.com
Photo: Sci-News.com

The elderberry fruits grow on small bush plants and can be edible when fully-ripened. It is divided into three varieties: black, blue, and red elderberries.

However, the entire plant outside of the ripened cooked berries is poisonous for humans to eat. Eating the bark, leaves, roots, and unripe berries will make you nauseous and develop severe stomach aches.

6. Manchineel

Photo: Kenh14
Photo: Kenh14

This tree may resemble that of an apple tree, but its fruits and leaves produce a deadly toxin that can cause great suffering. The manchineel tree is located in Florida, Mexico, and northern South America. These green or greenish-yellow fruits look similar to regular apples.

If you ever come near this tree, please beware of its toxic components. While there are no reports of deaths, some reports show that people have suffered extreme agony eating the fruit of this tree. Because of its acute toxicity, governments in some places that grow this tree have placed warning signs cautioning people to stay away.

7. European Spindle Tree

Photo: The Guardian
Photo: The Guardian

The European spindle tree is a little known plant that provides lots of food for birds and insects. Some of its other uses include the creation of high-quality charcoal colours for artists.

The tree can be found throughout woodland areas and is quite beautiful. However, you should never take a bite of a spindle tree’s fruits, no matter how tempting.

Both the tree and its fruit have purgative capabilities that are used to combat extreme indigestion. A few drops of spindle tree and everything in your stomach has to go! Large doses can result in extreme and excessive stomach pain.

Some of the other symptoms of spindle tree poisoning include nausea and diarrhoea. So don’t ingest more than three seeds unless you’re looking to clear your stomach and experience extreme pain!

8. Sea Buckthorn Berries

Photo: Amika
Photo: Amika

The orange-colored berries of this plant may look appealing, but they are very toxic and should, under no circumstances, be eaten. The buckthorn plant is found in Canada, East Asia, and within the temperate and subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere.

When ingested, the plant can cause an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nervous system. So it is beneficial to avoid this plant and its berries as much as possible.

9. Winterberry

Photo: Spring Hill Nurseries
Photo: Spring Hill Nurseries

This shrub species may be beneficial for wildlife food, but it is considered too poisonous for humans to eat. The bright red fruit is eaten by small mammals and more than 48 species of birds. You will mainly see this plant growing in the wetlands region, but it could also be found in the grasslands.

If you try to eat one of these berries, you will suffer enormous health consequences. Ingesting the seeds, leaves, and bark of this plant will cause you to develop nausea and low blood pressure. So if you do not want to acquire these problems, do not try to eat these berries.

10. Apricot Kernels

Photo: Medical News Today
Photo: Medical News Today

Located within the pit of an apricot, you’ll find a smaller kernel that looks a bit like an almond.

To reach it, you’d have to break through the hard pit, which makes you wonder why anyone would bother.

But people have, and apricot kernels have been used for years in some cultures for cooking.

The problem is, in high enough doses, they’re poisonous. Due to many anecdotal stories and rumours over the years, there are many folks out there who also believe that the small seed of apricot can cure cancer.

Amygdalin, also called laetrile, is the substance found in the small, apricot kernel. It’s converted into cyanide in the body, but that hasn’t stopped it from being marketed as alternative medicine, which is sometimes called vitamin B17.

In high enough doses, amygdalin can cause the body to produce enough cyanide to lead to nervousness, insomnia, low blood pressure, and death.

The sale of laetrile is now illegal in the US, and the European Food Safety Authority warns of the danger, particularly in Turkey, where apricot seeds are commonly eaten, frequently resulting in cyanide poisoning in children.

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