How to Identify Wild Berries

Knowing how to identify wild berries is a good survival skill to have. With the number of poisonous berries out there, it can be intimidating to determine whether a berry is edible or not. Follow these tips to successfully identify wild berries.

The best places to find wild berries include meadows, overgrown fields, marshes and along rivers and ponds. Most berries grow during summer, but there are a few that grow in spring, fall and winter. Look for edible wild berries in low-lying berry bushes, but they can also be found in fruit trees, fields and marshes. Edible wild berries look almost exactly like the berries you get in the supermarket. If you put a wild berry in your mouth and it doesn't taste right though, spit it out immediately. It might be poisonous.

Strawberries are a popular fruit, but eating wild strawberries can be risky. When you find the three-leaved plant, remember that only white flowers produce edible strawberries. Other, similar-looking berries can be poisonous. If you do put one in your mouth and it doesn't taste like a strawberry, it probably isn't.

Raspberries come in a variety of colors including red, black, orange and yellow.  Blackberries are similar to raspberries in that their leaves come in threes and their plants are thorny. Sometimes it is difficult to tell a black raspberry from a blackberry. An easy way is by opening the berry up. A raspberry will be hollow inside.

Cranberries grow along the ground on a vine. Their leaves are small and in an alternating pattern. You can often find cranberries in bogs in the Northeast. Wild cranberries look just like the cranberries found in the grocery store.

Wild cherries grow on cherry trees and bushes. Cherries can be either red or almost black. They are most commonly found in the East and Midwest.

Blueberries can be found in sunny meadows. Their fruit are round and dark blue to black.

If you plan on spending a lot of time in the wilderness or will be camping for an extended amount of time, it may be best to pick up a field guide to wild berries. Become familiar with wild berries as you hike. Then, if it becomes necessary, you will be able to safely identify which wild berries are edible.

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