Saturday night I experienced a new adventure in mommying. My youngest, the terrific two-year old, decided to sample some wild berries. We had been outside, taking a leisurely stroll through the woods and stopped by our garden to pick some tomatoes. While hubby and I were putting the tomatoes in the wagon, we looked up to see said terrific two-year old (TTYO) stuffing his mouth with purple berries. I yelped "NOOOO" and leapt over to him, squashing plants in the process, and tried to pry them out of his mouth. He was at the same time, trying to stuff more in. So, not knowing what he had eaten or how many, I scooped him up and ran inside with a plant sample. Hubby and I were on dueling computers, frantically trying to identify this plant and its berries. We kept coming up with a variety of nightshade, striking terror in my heart, but couldn't identify which one. Not wanting to risk spending too much time on it, I wisked TTYO and the plant sample to the ER, using my finest former-Chicago-commuter driving/speeding/passing skills in the process.
I should mention, that all the while, TTYO was completely calm and was perfectly content going out for a drive.
At the ER they checked his vitals and tried also to identify the plant. With the help of poison control and the internet, they determined that the type of nightshade that he had eaten was not the deadly nightshade (whew!). Given the length of time that had passed since he had ingested the berries, it was clear that he was going to be just fine. He was offered some stickers and a stuffed animal (although he asked for a horse instead), and we were on our way home.
Hubby did identify the plant as the Eastern Black Nightshade and it is not as toxic as some of its relatives. The green fruits are more toxic than the ripe ones, and TTYO would have had to have eaten 20 or so to get sick. Nevertheless, if you see this common plant in your yard, you may want to remove it if you have kiddos that eat anything and everything, just as a precaution.
TTYO is just fine. Mom has 17 new grey hairs.