Water Hemlock may be found by our river-dwellers. One of the most dangerous plants in the U.S. is often mistaken as edible. A nibble of this delicate beauty can be fatal.
Our friends in the arid southwest may encounter the fall berries of the Coyotillo shrub. The berries produce a poison that leads to slow paralysis that works upward in the body from the lower limbs to the respiratory system.
Perhaps most timely to our witching season is the grainy story of Ergot. A toxic spore that attaches to rye, wheat and barley crops, it may have been the source of convulsions suffered by girls in Salem, Massachusetts in the year 1691, and led them to pointing fingers at "witches," 19 of whom were executed. Ergot, when ingested with its cereal host, causes seizures, hallucinations, and even death. The real culprit in Salem may have been the baker.