I’ve got a ton of tiny poke weeds coming up in an herb bed. Perennial. He pointed to a young plant, thick-stemmed and in the “asparagus stage” in terms of appearance, and he said he thought it was pokeweed. The young leaves and shoots are edible, so long as you pick them while they are small – plants less than 8 or so inches tall – and you boil them twice, changing the water each time. . I wish I knew for sure how to identify elderberry in the wild. But this study does give credence to some people’s claims of having eaten pokeberry pie. Thanks, Mary. Available for Android and iOS devices. My grandmother used bacon grease, but I’ve developed a taste for it without that. When I see it during the summer, I just go out and pick a big bag of it. Found in moist, disturbed soil around houses and on roadsides (Weatherbee). Weird. No adverse effects on the vaginal mucosa or on reproductive success were found in examination of numerous end points.33 However, in rabbits, moderate to marked vaginal irritation was noted in some animals, but it was not dose-dependent in intensity.34, It should be emphasized that the above studies were conducted on purified proteins and that crude extracts of poke cannot be substituted in therapy because of their acutely toxic properties. It’s the first plant that many of us eat that could also kill us. Elderberry does not have alternate leaves, and the berries grow in an umbel,6)Umbel: A flat, disk-shaped or umbrella-shaped cluster of flower. The equivalent amount for an adult, male human would be about 45 pounds (20 kilograms).3)http://digital.library.okstate.edu/oas/oas_pdf/v43/p54_57.pdf jQuery('#footnote_plugin_tooltip_461429_3').tooltip({ tip: '#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_461429_3', tipClass: 'footnote_tooltip', effect: 'fade', predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: 'top right', relative: true, offset: [5, 5], }); Just for the record, 45 pounds of water would also kill an adult, male human.4)http://www.nleomf.org/officers/search/search-results/james-c-mcbride.html jQuery('#footnote_plugin_tooltip_461429_4').tooltip({ tip: '#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_461429_4', tipClass: 'footnote_tooltip', effect: 'fade', predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: 'top right', relative: true, offset: [5, 5], }); Of course I wouldn’t recommend you eat a big bowlful of the berries. Some people boil them first, but many (including myself) don’t. Show larger version of the image Pokeweed, Technical Assistance for Community Compost Sites, Autumn in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, Bloom Alert: Autumn Color Along Belle’s Brook, Q&A with Brooklyn Botanic Garden President Adrian Benepe, Eat Local: Sweet Potato versus Yam—a Primer with a Pie Recipe. Once the poke is frying up, I’ll also add some chopped onion, some salt and lots of black pepper. So unless he chewed up the seeds, any poisons would likely remain safely locked away. There’s no reason to eat a plant you’re not comfortable with. Our suspicion is that a rodent was squirrelling away seeds in anticipation of a harsh winter. When I first tasted it, I couldn’t stand it. Other symptoms include salivation, heavy perspiration, weakness, drowsiness, slowed pulse, difficulty breathing, and visual disturbances. Please refer to E-434, "MSU Weed Control Guide for Field Crops," for herbicide recommendations. It’s from just last year. Lucky you! The reddish stem has large pointed leaves that taper at both ends. Around here, it’s usually only feathered foodies that consider pokeberries edible. Please keep up the good work. Symptoms of mild poisoning generally last 24 hours. This is great to know! The younger leaves are tender and taste better. However, the margins of safety are smaller than with most popular herbs. It prefers damp woodlands and open area. amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; Pokeweed does not. You can plant either seeds or transplants for growing pokeweed in your home garden. Image permission by David D. Taylor. Planting. jQuery('#footnote_plugin_tooltip_461429_11').tooltip({ tip: '#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_461429_11', tipClass: 'footnote_tooltip', effect: 'fade', predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: 'top right', relative: true, offset: [5, 5], }); Isolated compounds from the pokeweed plant have even been used to inactivate the HIV virus in rats, rendering them HIV-negative.12)Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections. 1400 Independence Ave., SW Use caution, and get in touch with an experienced herbalist before experimenting with it yourself. Another option is to boil and then pickle the stalks. Just like cockroaches, pokeweed has the ability to survive the apocalypse. This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. Pokeweed has a wide variety of medicinal uses, both traditional and modern. At lower doses of 60 to 100 mg/day, the root and berries have been used to treat rheumatism and for immune stimulation; however, there are no clinical trials that support these uses or doses. Thanks for the feedback and the extra info. Over-wintering is required for seed to germinate in the dark. How to Wrap a Fig Tree to Protect It for the Winter, Woodland Garden Plants and Design Ideas for Your Shady, Urban Garden, Make a Simple, Subirrigated, Self-Watering Planter Out of a Milk Carton. Whereas I don’t worry too much about the stalk being red, I do tend not to eat the older tougher bottom part of the stalk. In fact, it was a swamp milkweed (I have some in my yard, for the monarchs). After three doses, one per hour, of as much as the mice’s bellies could hold, some finally died. Common pokeweed (Phytolacca americana L.). Your email address is required; it will not be displayed, but may be needed to confirm your comments. Dispersal Mechanisms: Birds eat pokeweed berries, the seeds survive digestion, and are redeposited to create new infestations. He shook his head and led me to a tall pokeweed plant. US Forest Service, FM-RM-VE Image permission by David D. Taylor. Scientific Name(s): Phytolacca americana L.Common Name(s): American nightshade, Cancer jalap, Cancerroot, Chongras, Coakum, Crowberry, Garget, Inkberry, Pigeonberry, Poke, Pokeberry, Red ink plant, Scoke. Thank you for posting this. Two native species of pokeweed are recognized in North America, one found across much of North America and one found in California and the southwestern U.S. A few tropical species have been introduced unintentionally in imported products or intentionally as ornamentals. This pokeweed is usually 1.8 meter to 3.0 meters (about 6 to 10 feet) tall, but may in some instances reach 21 feet tall. This article on pokeweed is part of a series on weed gardens and identifying and using the plants you’ll often find there. Flowers are borne in pinkish racemes, linear clusters with each flower on a short stem. Planting date: Most likely will not affect common pokeweed infestations. Flowers appear in spring through summer and turn into glossy, deep purple-to-black berries toward the end of summer and into fall. I have always gathered and froze enough poke to keep me and my two children’s families stocked with poke so that it can be eaten year round. Pokeweed is a powerful lymphatic-system stimulant, helping to prevent cytokine storms.11)Cytokine Storm: A potentially fatal, hyper-inflammatory, immune response often linked to certain viruses. One was that I cut down all of the pokeweed plants in our yard. My favourite way to prepare is to boil it twice, each time about 30 minutes. Pokeweed is indigenous to eastern North America, and widely naturalized in Europe, the West Indies, and Asia. In severe cases, gastric lavage, emesis, and symptomatic and supportive treatment have been suggested.47 The FDA classifies pokeweed as an herb of undefined safety that has demonstrated narcotic effects. When I was very young, my mom always fed us all kinds of “Weeds”, dandelion, pokeweed, and a whole host of things I cannot remember. Comments are moderated and will be posted after BBG staff review. I knew I had to remove every single bit of its root system else I might risk two or three plants growing back in its place!!! Saara Nafici is the executive director of Added Value/Red Hook Community Farm. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. My grandmother taught me how to cook poke (as we always called it). Birds help spread the seeds in their droppings, as well. And at this age, our boy was more of a gulper than a chewer. But it’s a rare person who doesn’t feel at least a little trepidation when cooking and eating it for the first time. We grew up very healthy. It’s interesting to know that it can be eaten, but, with all of the other wild plants around, I would personally rather stick to those that don’t need to be so carefully prepared in order to be safe. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Stephen Harrod Buhner. Hopefully I’ve scared you just the right amount—not so much that I scared you away, but not so little that you jump in with abandon. I am surprised my “Mystery” plant has turned out to be poisonous but, am wondering if I should cut it down or let it grow and try to eat it. The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records.