Another reason it’s nice to have a hiking guide

The Wasatch Mountains make up the back drop of Park City. While hiking on the trails you’ll pass edible plants as well as many poisonous plants.
 The toxic beauty you’ll surely encounter at lower elevations, is Death Camas. Small cream and yellow star shaped flowers accent the thin grass like foliage. This plant
Elderberries, currants and doll eyes
Be careful what you pick from this patch

superficially looks like wild onion but ingesting even two bulbs can cause a miserable death. Your demise begins with profuse sweating. the discomfort progresses to nausea, vomiting and eventually coma and respiratory failure. Many key features would help to identify this plant from a tasty wild onion! The first is the lack of the characteristic onion aroma.

 

Mountain foliage
One is delicious the other deadly, choose carefully

Wild red currants are one of my favorite edible to enjoy while hiking. Bright red, juicy and a bit painful to harvest if you have an unsteady hand as they have mighty spines covering the bush. Easy enough to identify but watch out as Doll Eyes, a look alike, are a sneaky little killer. The red variety may fool the untrained eye as both currants and doll eyes are bore in a bunch. The white fruited variety are attractive and children may be at the highest risk. Symptoms of ingesting Doll Eyes include burning of mouth and throat, salivation, severe stomach cramps, headache, diarrhea, dizziness and hallucinations. You may not die… but you may wish for death.

 

In late summer edible elderberry bushes transform their fragrant pillows of white flowers into blue berries that look to be powdered in white dust. These little wonders are renowned for their medical properties and have been shown to help prevent viral replication. Don’t make the foolish mistake ingesting the red fruit as under ripe blue fruits. If you make this mistake be ready for a gut ache or even worse. Red elderberries contain hydrogen cyanide. It is not easy to tell the difference in the shrubs, but it is easy to avoid this painful mistake…don’t harvest the red berries! Colorblind? Best save the harvest when you have a good friend around.

 

Elderberry
Full of antioxidants and tasty
Although not deadly Stinging Nettle is a plant you won’t soon forget. Walking along it’s likely to brush up against this unassuming aggressor. With thousands of stinging hairs it’s hard to believe that this plant is toted to be one of the most nutritious wild foods in the forest! Keep your distance as the burning sensations can last a couple hours. For those looking for natural allergy relieve be sure to bring a knowledgeable partner who knows the tricks of a successful harvest.