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Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions

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BRIEF: What is the most interesting fact you know about poisonous plants?


All plants have at least some chemicals to defend themselves from being eaten by insects, birds and mammals. The ones we call poisonous can make us sick or dead from a reasonably small dose (one we can be expected to eat). Some of the the others, even food plants, could cause problems if eaten raw or in very high, silly doses. Fruits have fewer of these chemicals, even when they are raw because it is to the plant's advantage to have animals come eat this part to carry away and plant the seed. We have bred food crops (like our grains and salad veggies) to have very little of these toxic chemicals, but then WE have to protect the plants form insects, weeds and fungus instead. That is one reason crops don't do as well as weeds. Others we cook and drain to destroy the toxic parts (Like dry beans).