Adam's apple

veldkamp Veldkamp at NHN.LEIDENUNIV.NL
Thu Apr 6 11:41:57 CDT 2000

Dear All,

        Someone put forward the following proposition: Any fruit that tastes good
must be safe to eat.

        My question: does anyone out there know of an apparently deliciously
edible fruit that will poison and sicken or kill those who eat them?

        Obviously excluded are fruits like grapes, olives, strawberries, etc. to
which some people are allergic.
        Borderline cases are Taxus baccata, where the 'flesh' is quite edible, but
the 'kernel' very poisonous, and Blighia sapida, where there is a red
membrane between the lobes of the quite edible lobes of the aril.
Beech-nuts (Fagus silvatica), when eaten in high quantity are reported to
make you ill because of minute cyanide contents. I never found enough,
        Also excluded is Cycas cicrcinalis, cause of the Guam disease leading to
dementia, paralysis, and death.
        What I'm looking for is the bang-you're-dead (or ill) situation, a bit
like what the apple did to Adam and Eve, or Sleeping Beauty.

Dr. J.F. Veldkamp
National Herbarium of the Netherlands, Leiden Branch
POB 9514
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands
e-mail: veldkamp at
fax: + 31 0715 27 35 11

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