Is Twinberry Poisonous? Facts and Information You Need to Know!

Have you ever seen a twinberry plant? It’s a small and innocuous-looking shrub that grows in abundance in North America. But did you know that there’s a question that boggles the minds of many: Is twinberry poisonous? Well, the answer is not that simple. It’s a bit of a grey area that requires some explanation, which I’ll delve into in this article.

Before we dive deep into the answer, let’s take a moment to reflect on how fascinating nature can be. Every living being, be it a plant or an animal, has its own unique characteristics, traits, and properties that make it stand out. This is precisely why twinberry is such an intriguing plant. It’s almost like nature has a way of keeping us on our toes, urging us to explore and learn more about the world around us. So, let’s get to it: Is twinberry poisonous or not?

The answer lies in the plant’s berries. In the wild, twinberry berries are consumed by birds and small mammals, which are able to break down the plant’s toxins. However, if humans consume twinberry berries, they may experience mild to severe symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. That being said, the severity of these symptoms may depend on several factors such as the quantity of berries consumed, the individual’s sensitivity, and the method of consumption. So, the question remains: Should you steer clear of twinberry, or can you still enjoy its beauty and presence? Let’s find out together.

Symptoms of Twinberry Poisoning

Twinberry, also known as Lonicera involucrata, is a plant species found throughout North America. It is commonly found in moist areas such as streambanks, bogs, and forest understories. Although twinberry can be used for medicinal purposes, the plant can also be poisonous if ingested in large quantities. If you suspect that you or someone you know has ingested twinberry, it’s crucial to be aware of the following symptoms of twinberry poisoning:

  • Stomach pain and cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Swelling and redness of the skin
  • Dizziness and confusion

These symptoms can begin anywhere from 1-6 hours after ingestion and can last up to several days. In severe cases, twinberry poisoning can cause convulsions, respiratory distress, and even death. Therefore, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect that you or someone you know has ingested twinberry.

Twinberry Plant Description

The twinberry plant, also known as Lonicera involucrata, is a deciduous shrub native to North America. It can grow up to 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide, with a multi-stemmed growth habit. The leaves are a bright green color and are arranged in an opposite pattern on the branches. The flowers are tubular-shaped and a yellowish-green color, appearing in clusters in late spring to early summer.

Is Twinberry Poisonous?

  • The twinberry plant is considered poisonous if ingested in large quantities.
  • The berries of the twinberry plant are edible but have a bitter taste, which discourages consumption.
  • The leaves, stems, and roots of the twinberry plant contain a toxic compound called cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide when digested.

Symptoms of Twinberry Poisoning

Ingestion of the twinberry plant can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, confusion, and in severe cases, respiratory failure and death. Symptoms can appear within 15 minutes to several hours after ingestion.

If you suspect twinberry poisoning, seek medical attention immediately. Treatment may include activated charcoal, oxygen therapy, and other supportive measures.


To avoid twinberry poisoning, it’s best to avoid ingesting any part of the plant. If you have children or pets, keep them away from the twinberry plant to prevent accidental ingestion. If you have twinberry plants growing on your property, consider removing them or placing warning signs to alert others of the potential danger.

Scientific Name Lonicera involucrata
Common Names Twinberry, bearberry honeysuckle, twinberry honeysuckle, black twinberry
Foliage Deciduous
Height Up to 10 feet
Width Up to 8 feet
Flowering Late spring to early summer
Native Range North America
Toxicity Leaves, stems, and roots contain cyanogenic glycosides

Overall, the twinberry plant is a beautiful shrub that adds diversity to the garden. However, it’s important to be aware of its toxic properties and take precautions to prevent poisoning. By following these guidelines, you can safely enjoy the beauty of the twinberry plant without putting yourself or others at risk.

Types of toxic berries

While many berries are safe to eat and even have numerous health benefits, there are also several types of toxic berries that should be avoided. Some of the most common types of toxic berries include:

  • Jerusalem cherry – these small, red berries may look enticing but are extremely poisonous and can cause severe gastrointestinal issues and even death.
  • Jimsonweed – the berries of this plant contain a hallucinogenic toxin that can cause seizures, confusion, and even coma.
  • Mistletoe – though commonly used as a decoration during the holiday season, mistletoe berries are highly toxic and can cause vomiting, seizures, and even death in rare cases.

Twinberry Poisonous

Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata) is a shrub that produces an edible fruit commonly known as bearberry honeysuckle. While the berries themselves are not poisonous and can be consumed in small quantities, it is important to note that their seeds contain a toxic substance known as saponin. Consumption of large quantities of the seeds can cause nausea, vomiting, and even abdominal pain.

It is important to properly identify and research any type of berry before consuming it, as even certain edible berries can cause adverse reactions in some individuals. If you are unsure about the safety of a particular berry, it is always best to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming it altogether.

Common Symptoms of Berry Poisoning

If you suspect that you or someone you know has consumed a toxic berry, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Some common symptoms of berry poisoning include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Fever

If left untreated, berry poisoning can lead to more serious complications such as seizures, organ failure, and even death. It is always best to play it safe when it comes to consuming berries and other wild foods, as the consequences of consuming something toxic can be severe and even life-threatening.

Berry Type Toxic Component Symptoms of Poisoning
Jerusalem cherry Solanine and solasonine Vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, coma
Jimsonweed Hyoscyamine and hyoscine Seizures, confusion, coma
Mistletoe Phoratoxin Vomiting, seizures, death (rare)

Always consult a doctor if you experience any symptoms after consuming a berry or other wild food.

Health Hazards of Consuming Twinberry

While twinberries might seem harmless, consuming them can be hazardous to one’s health. Here are some of the dangers associated with consuming twinberry:

  • Poisonous: The fruits of the twinberry plant contain a toxic compound called glycoside. When ingested in large quantities, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in extreme cases.
  • Allergies: Some people may be allergic to twinberries. The symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild, such as itching or hives, to severe, such as anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.
  • Illness: Twinberries can be a haven for harmful bacteria, which may cause food poisoning and other illnesses. The risks are even higher if the berries are not properly washed before consumption.

It’s crucial to remain cautious when consuming any unfamiliar fruits and berries, including the twinberry. If you suspect that you’ve ingested a toxic substance or are experiencing symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.

Here’s a table summarizing some of the potential health hazards associated with consuming twinberries:

Dangers Symptoms Treatment
Toxicity Vomiting, diarrhea, death Medical attention, induce vomiting if advised by a healthcare professional
Allergies Itching, hives, anaphylaxis Medical attention, epinephrine injection in severe cases
Illness Food poisoning, other illnesses Medical attention, rehydration, antibiotics if required

By avoiding the consumption of unknown fruits and berries and carefully washing any produce before eating, you can minimize the risks of hazardous effects associated with twinberries.

Uses of Twinberry

Twinberry, also known as northern twinberry, is a shrub that belongs to the honeysuckle family. While some components of twinberry are toxic, it is still used for various purposes. Here are some of the uses of twinberry:

  • Ornamental plant: Twinberry is grown for its attractive foliage. It has oval leaves that have a glossy surface and dark green color. During summer, the plant produces clusters of yellow flowers which are followed by bright red or black berries. The plant can be pruned to form a neat hedge or used as a specimen plant in the garden.
  • Food: The berries of twinberry are edible, but they are not commonly consumed due to their bitter taste. However, birds are known to feed on the berries. The flowers of the plant are also edible and can be added to salads or used to flavor drinks.
  • Medicine: The Native Americans have used twinberry for medicinal purposes. The plant was used to treat various ailments such as coughs, colds, fever, and sore throat. The bark of the plant was also used as a poultice to treat wounds and sores.
  • Landscape restoration: Twinberry is used in landscape restoration projects as it is a hardy plant that can tolerate adverse conditions such as drought and poor soil. The plant is also beneficial to wildlife as it provides food and habitat for birds and insects.
  • Indoor air purification: Twinberry is known for its ability to purify indoor air. The plant is able to remove harmful pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia from the air.


Twinberry, despite its toxic components, is a versatile plant that has various uses. It can be used for ornamental purposes, as a source of food and medicine, in landscape restoration projects, and to purify indoor air. However, it is important to be cautious when handling twinberry as some parts of the plant are poisonous and can cause adverse effects if ingested.

Pros Cons
– Attractive foliage – Berries have a bitter taste
– Edible flowers – Toxic components
– Used for medicine – Can cause adverse effects if ingested
– Helps in landscape restoration
– Purifies indoor air

The table above summarizes the pros and cons of twinberry.

How to Identify Twinberry Plant

Twinberry, also known as twinflower or shiny-leaved berberis, is a shrub that belongs to the barberry family. It is popular for its ornamental appeal due to its bright, shiny green leaves and vivid yellow flowers, which eventually turn into attractive dark berries. However, before you add this shrub to your garden or landscape, it is essential to know how to identify it to avoid any harmful consequences.

  • The first feature to observe when identifying twinberry is its leaf shape. The leaves are broad, oval-shaped, and typically grow in clusters of two on the stem. They have a glossy, dark green color on top and a lighter green underside.
  • Another distinctive characteristic of the twinberry is its flowers. They are bright yellow and bell-shaped, growing in clusters of two to six at the end of the branches. The flowers only bloom from late spring to early summer.
  • As the flowers wither, they give way to berries, which are oval and about 1 cm in diameter. These berries start out green and turn a shiny black when ripe.
  • Twinberry has a distinctive growth pattern as well, growing up to 3 meters tall and as wide as 2 meters. Its branches tend to grow almost vertically upward, and the shrub grows in dense, compact clusters.
  • When you crush the leaves of twinberry, you will notice a strong, unpleasant odor. This is an easy way to distinguish it from other shrubs.
  • Finally, twinberry has small thorns along its branches, which can be painful if touched.

Twinberry Poisonous Properties

Before planting twinberry or ingesting its berries, it’s essential to be aware of its toxic properties. Twinberry contains berberine, a toxic alkaloid that can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingested. Ingesting large quantities of this shrub’s berries can be fatal for both humans and animals. Additionally, twinberry can cause skin irritation when touched or come into contact with eyes or open wounds.


Identifying twinberry is essential for gardeners and landscapers as it helps to avoid harmful consequences caused by ingesting the plant or coming into contact with it. Keep in mind that twinberry is poisonous, and consuming its berries can be fatal. Therefore, it is essential to keep an eye out for its distinctive characteristics before planting it in your garden.

Common Name Twinberry
Scientific Name Lonicera involucrata
Family Caprifoliaceae
Growth Habit Shrub
Height 2-4 meters
Light Requirements Part shade to full sun
Water Requirements Moderate to high
Soil Type Well-drained soil, acidic pH

Twinberry toxicity in animals

While twinberry may be a beautiful addition to your garden, it is essential to consider its toxicity, particularly to animals. The toxic components of twinberry are primarily found in the leaves and twigs, with the berries themselves considered non-toxic. As such, it is vital to exercise caution when animals, such as livestock, graze on areas with twinberry plants.

  • Ingesting twinberry leaves can result in a range of symptoms in animals, such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.
  • Livestock that consume twinberry in large amounts can experience more severe symptoms, including seizures, muscle tremors, and difficulty breathing.
  • The toxicity of twinberry is a result of the presence of glycosides and resinoids, which can cause significant harm in the body of animals.

If you own animals that graze on areas with twinberry, it is essential to keep an eye on their behavior and ensure they do not consume the leaves or twigs of the plant. If you suspect your animal may have ingested twinberry, it is vital to seek veterinary care immediately.

It is worth noting that birds are particularly attracted to twinberry, and the berries themselves are not toxic to them. As such, twinberry can be an excellent addition to gardens designed to attract birds.

Animal Type Twinberry Toxicity
Cattle High Toxicity
Sheep Moderate Toxicity
Horses Low Toxicity

It is evident that while twinberry may be non-toxic to humans, it can pose a significant risk to animals that graze in areas with the plant. As such, exercise caution when incorporating twinberry into your garden and keep an eye on any animals that may come into contact with the plant.

FAQs about Is Twinberry Poisonous

Q: Is it safe to touch twinberry plants?

A: Yes, it is safe to touch twinberry plants. The plant’s poisonous properties are contained in its berries.

Q: Are twinberry berries toxic to humans?

A: Yes, twinberry berries are toxic to humans if ingested. They contain glycosides, which can cause heart problems, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Q: Can animals eat twinberry plants without getting ill?

A: It depends on the animal. Some animals, like birds, are able to eat twinberry berries without any adverse effects. However, other animals may become ill or even die from ingesting the plant.

Q: What should I do if I ingest twinberry berries?

A: If you accidentally ingest twinberry berries, seek medical attention immediately. Do not induce vomiting.

Q: Can I use twinberry plants for medicinal purposes?

A: Twinberry has been used for medicinal purposes in some cultures, but it should not be consumed without proper guidance from a healthcare professional.

Q: Are there any benefits to twinberry plants?

A: There are some potential benefits to twinberry plants, such as their ability to attract birds and pollinating insects. However, the plant’s toxic berries make it a dangerous choice for gardens.

Q: How can I safely remove twinberry plants from my garden?

A: It is best to wear gloves and protective clothing when removing twinberry plants. Make sure to dispose of the plant and its berries properly, as they can be toxic to other animals and humans.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading about the dangers of twinberry plants. While they may have some benefits, their toxic berries make them a risky addition to any garden. If you encounter twinberry in your yard, take the necessary precautions to safely remove it. As always, remember to educate yourself on any potentially dangerous plants in your area to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones. Come back soon for more helpful gardening tips!