Saturday morning started off as I usually do, walking around my garden with my coffee checking out what has grown during the week. I had been reading about lilly pilly berries on gardening blogs and decided to forage from my lilly pilly tree. Sure enough, there was a plump juicy berry there among the leaves, so I popped it in my mouth and started searching for more.
Strangely, there were no more berries to be found, so I went back to the original stem and parted the leaves to discover to my horror that I had eaten the berry off a weed, which my ecologist friend had pointed out to me on my first walk around my garden as one to warn the kids about for its poisonous berries!!!
Feeling foolish, I started to feebly heimlich manoeuvre my stomach, before ringing the poisons helpline (Ph: 13 11 26), not knowing how many minutes more I had to live. The conversation went like this:
Me: This is really stupid, but I was confused and ate a poisonous berry from my garden.
Her: What was it?
Me: I don’t know.
Her: Why do you think it was poisonous?
Me: Because my ecologist friend said so.
Her: There’s nothing I can do without its botanical name.
Me: Please….tell me what I should be watching out for.
Her: One berry is not going to poison an adult.
Me: I feel so stupid, as I have told the kids not to eat this berry.
Her: (not really sure what she said as she cut me off and hung up)
So comforted that it was just one berry I got on with my day and didn’t give it any more thought until 1:30 when my stomach literally blew up like a balloon, distending more and more until I was groaning on my back on the floor. Then I started throwing up repeatedly.
Lessons learned: Do not forage anything that you haven’t planted. Use wikipedia. Know the botanical names of everything in the garden. One berry can poison an adult.