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Sweet Death

I have been taking a photo a day and writing a comment about the photo. As you can see, the photos aren't extra fancy or artsy or anything. Instead they are snapshots of the world around me.

Today, on my walk into work, I took this photo of some red berries on a tree. To be perfectly honest with you, I don't have anything to say about this photograph. There's no story to really tell, at least none that I can think of at this late hour, just before midnight. My eyes are drooping and my brain is crackling and popping from all of the thinking I've been doing since this morning. I suppose I could tell you the story of how I almost died when I was a child from eating mysterious berries. Well, almost died may be an exaggeration. I did puke my brains out something fierce though. This picture of berries also got me thinking about early humans and how they figured out what to eat and what not to eat. I wonder how many people died so that we could have tomatoes, raspberries, or mushrooms. I am pretty sure it was more than we can count.

This picture also reminds me of the time when my kids came home from elementary school… they must have been in the first and fourth grade… there was a thing among students where they would pick flowers and suck the nectar. When I found out about it, I was furious and forbade my kids to do it. I knew all too well the danger the wrong flower posed. What a horrible tragedy that would have been if one of them had picked a yew berry, for example, and eaten it as if it were a sweet tiny grape.

Here’s a fun fact about Yew Berries (Taxus baccata, Taxus). The red flesh of the ripe berries is safe and sweet tasting, though without any great flavor, but the seed in the center of the red berry is deadly poisonous, and the rest of the tree is deadly poisonous.

Here is another fun fact for you. The plant in the photo, according to an app I have on my phone that identifies plants, is called a euonymus plant. It's also called a spindle tree. The bright pink fruit of the spindle tree may look highly appetizing, but they contain dangerous cardiac glycosides and alkaloids. Honestly, I'm not sure if this is actually a picture of a spindle tree but, according to my phone, it is.


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