Rising food prices may make foraging seem a cheap way to keep the fridge full.

There are hundreds of plants growing in the wild which can be safely eaten raw or made palatable by cooking.

But lurking among them are others which are deadly.

Most people know what a stinging nettle looks like and try to avoid them.

Eating the leaves might not seem a good idea but steaming or lightly boiling them neutralises the sting.

Nettles are best eaten when young - older leaves can have a laxative effect - and can be used as a vegetable or to make dishes like soup.

London diarist Samuel Pepys spoke of enjoying nettle pudding in 1661.

Roses are a common sight in British gardens but not so common in kitchens.

The Victorians were keen on using flowers to add delicate flavours to their food but the practice has largely fallen out of favour with British cooks.

Most rose petals can be eaten and can be used to add pretty decoration to cakes and desserts.

Anyone who decides to use rose petals in their cooking should wash them thoroughly and avoid those which have been sprayed with chemical pesticides.

Dandelions, the common weeds which anger proud gardeners by spoiling the lawn, can also be eaten.

Every part of the plant is edible although the fluffy seed heads which children like to blow are said to be the least palatable.

The roots can be eaten like carrots and the leaves can be used in salads but are best picked in cool seasons or from shaded areas as they may be bitter otherwise.

Dandelion is also used to make wine and the drink dandelion and burdock and its roots can be used as an alternative to coffee if dried and chopped.

Blackthorn or sloe berries from the prunus spinosa look like blueberries.

But unlike blueberries, they have a tart flavour so are best cooked before eating.

They are often used to make jam or the liqueur sloe gin.

Sloe berries are found on thorny shrubs and small trees and are often planted as hedgerows.

Another food found in the wild is the fungus Sulphur polypore which is known by the nickname chicken of the woods.

It grows on the trunks of yew and oak trees and can be eaten when young.

The fungus is pale yellow with a bright yellow edge which fades with age.

It grows throughout the UK between May and November.

The golden rules are do not eat anything unless you know for certain what it is and avoid foraging if you have an existing health condition.

Hemlock is a poisonous plant which grows across Britain, often close to roads and is sometimes mistaken for cow parsley.

Its white flowerheads are similar to those of carrots or parsnips and some people have mistaken its fleshy roots for edible vegetables.

It can be identified by dark red mottling on the lower part of the smooth stem and a distinctive smell, like mouse urine.

The Greek philosopher Socrates is said to have killed himself using hemlock, on the orders of the authorities in Athens.

Although the vibrant pink and purple flowers of foxgloves make a colourful addition to gardens, they are poisonous and should not be eaten.

Digitalin, which is used to treat heart problems, is extracted from foxglove plants but only those of a certain type and age.

The whole plant is toxic and people are advised not to plant them anywhere that children play.

The stalks of bell-shaped flowers usually grow in wooded areas.

Brightly coloured berries often look appetising, especially to children, but many have deadly consequences if eaten.

The red berries of the yew tree can act as a diuretic and laxative which may be tolerated by some people in small quantities.

But the dark seeds inside are very dangerous and can cause death very quickly if they are swallowed.

The leaves, bark and seeds of the tree are also poisonous although an extract from the leaves has been used in drugs to treat cancer.

The name of death cap fungi says it all.

The yellow topped mushroom is often found growing under oak trees.

Eating it causes breathing problems, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration.

Symptoms ease after three days but the liver is badly damaged and death usually occurs three days' later.

Deadly nightshade is one of the best known poisonous plants but is relatively rare in Britain although it has been found near quarries and waste sites.

The knee-high plants have dark purple flowers during the summer and berries which look like small cherries appear around September.

The plant can be safely eaten by some animals but children can be poisoned by its berries and adults may be affected if they eat several of the fruits.

Domestic animals like dogs and cats are also easily poisoned by eating the plant or its berries.

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