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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

FDA Poisonous Plant Database

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AUTHOR(S): Jenkins, R. A.; Matyunas, N. J.; Rodgers, G. C.
TITLE: Are the mock strawberries toxic?
YEAR: 1986 CITATION: Vet Hum Toxicol, 28(5), 479 [English]
FDA #: F07935
ABSTRACT: Abstract (no other info in issue): Mock, or Indian, strawberries (Duchesnea indica) are similar in appearance to the edible wild strawberry (Frageria virginiana). Both grow abundantly in lawns and fields. Mock strawberries are considered inedible, however, toxicity is not documented. Due to the incidence of exposures reported to our center, an investigation was undertaken to determine the toxicity, if any, of mock strawberries. Exposures involving strawberries from June through October 1985 were included. Identification of the berry was determined through questioning about flower color, growth and berry description. Therapy consisted of observation, with telephone follow-up at least 24 hours following exposure. Forty-one strawberry exposures were reported. Twenty-seven cases (65.8%) involved mock strawberries. Ages ranged from 12 months to 27 years; 74% were less than 5 years of age. In 19 cases, 3 berries or fewer were ingested, with an undetermined number ingested in 8 cases. Twenty-six patients were asymptomatic initially. One child displayed hives which resolved following antihistamine therapy. Delayed symptoms were not reported as 25 patients remained asymptomatic, with two lost to follow-up. Mock, or Indian strawberries, while possibly less delicious than wild strawberries, do not produce toxicity when ingested. Allergic reactions are rare.
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