Toxic Traps: The Dangers of Collecting Wild Plants in Israel

Elderly couple dies after consuming wild garlic plant picked for soup

In Israel, while it is impossible to find wild garlic, there are other species of garlic that can be found. However, over the years, there have been cases of confusion between poisonous plants and edible plants that have led to real danger. Avivit Berkovich, an expert in collecting wild plants for food and medicine, explains that people often misidentify plants or don’t know how to use them properly, which can be risky.

Berkovich recounts a story of a two-year-old child who ate toxic ‘cherry tomatoes’ that were actually a different plant. She emphasizes the importance of correctly identifying plants before consuming them and encourages people to study the topic in depth before collecting wild plants. Berkovich also mentions that plants like hemlock can be confused with edible plants like parsley, as they belong to the same family. Hemlock contains a toxin that can disrupt the nervous system and lead to respiratory arrest. She recounts a story of a woman who experienced paralysis after being in contact with hemlock while cleaning her garden.

Overall, being cautious when foraging for wild plants is essential to avoid the risk of consuming poisonous plants. Proper identification and knowledge of how to use wild plants safely are crucial to prevent dangerous situations. It is important to educate oneself on the different plant species and their characteristics to ensure a safe and enjoyable foraging experience.

In conclusion, collecting wild plants in Israel requires proper knowledge and caution. While there are other species of garlic that can be found, it is crucial not to confuse them with poisonous plants or use them improperly. As such, individuals should educate themselves thoroughly before embarking on any foraging activity and exercise caution when identifying and using wild plants for food or medicine purposes.

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