Woman's dangerous mistake after puzzling garden discovery

The curious Canberra mum admitted she licked the mysterious plant in an attempt to find out what it is.

A curious woman has come dangerously close to being rushed to hospital after she licked a poisonous plant found growing in her garden.

The mum of two “small kids and pets” recently spotted the vine wrapped around a rose bush in her Canberra yard with what appear to be large fruits hanging off. Intrigued by their “kinda sweet smell”, the woman admitted online she gave one of them a lick to try and determine what it is.

Left, the moth vine fruit. Right, the white flowers on the poisonous moth vine in the Canberra woman's garden.
A mum from Canberra has admitted to accidentally licking a poisonous moth vine weed found growing in her garden. Source: Facebook

“Someone please tell me what the bloody hell this is,” she posted on a local Facebook group on Sunday alongside several photos of the fruit, including one revealing yellow seeds inside.

“It also bleeds that milky stuff when it’s picked off,” the woman explained, adding the mysterious growth tasted sweet. “I have no idea, and need some help pretty please.”

Plant revealed to be poisonous moth vine

Numerous community residents responded that the plant looked like an edible chayote — otherwise known as a choko — however, others insisted the pear-shaped fruit is a poisonous moth vine.

“Please do not eat this. It is a weed and needs to be disposed of. It is not a choko. Choko has smooth bright skin not hairy,” one person urged.

The moth vine, a fast growing plant with large green fruit that smothers and kills native vegetation, is harmful to animals and people.

The yellow seeds inside the Moth vine fruit cut open.
Moth vine fruit have up to 400 poisonous seeds inside. Source: Facebook

“The leaves and seeds are poisonous,” agriculture Professor Daniel Tan told Yahoo News, confirming the plant in question is a moth vine. “The latex sap can cause skin and eye irritation and in some cases, it can cause breathing difficulties.”

The weed is widely naturalised and is most common in eastern NSW and southeast Queensland. It is also a weed in New Zealand, Africa, Europe and North America, and is native to South America, according to the Department of Primary Industries.

What do I do if I have a moth vine?

With each fruit containing up to 400 seeds that are dispersed by wind and water, the invasive weed featuring white or pink flowers can spread easily.

“If people find it in their yard, pull it out from the roots and remove all fruits (and seeds) to prevent seed dispersal,” Professor Tan said.

People are urged to avoid contact with the milky sap and wear protective equipment like gloves.

If someone has been poisoned by a moth vine and has difficulty breathing or becomes unresponsive, call Triple-0. If the patient is conscious, call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 or your doctor.

Livestock can also be poisoned by the plant, possibly resulting in death. Symptoms include poor balance and vomiting.

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