Widespread growth in the United States makes elderberries an especially dangerous plant.
The flowering plant grows into between 5 and 30 species, but only one species does not produce poisonous berries. Between five and nine leaflets that grow no longer than 30 centimeters encircle clusters of cream-colored flowers. Within the flower clusters sit small black, red, or bluish black berries.
Cyanide generating glycosides produce the toxin that often leads to death. As glycosides increase, the body’s metabolism processes the poison throughout the body. Symptoms of consuming Elderberry berries include extreme vomiting and acute diarrhea. The toxins eventually invade the nervous system, shutting down body control functions such as arm and leg movement.