Of all the “weeds” that appear in my yard, the poisonous pokeweed is one of my favorites.
I love the look of the plant… the fleshy stems and leaves… the deep purple-black berries with fuchsia calyxes.
I also like that it grows in terrible soil. I have a feeling that pokeweed is a nutrient accumulator, though I can’t say for sure. Its habit of inhabiting waste areas makes me think so.
Whatever it is, I like to spread the seeds around my yard by clipping the berry stalks from the plant and chucking them here and there.
I’m asked regularly about pokeweed’s edibility. The answer is yes, with proper preparation; however, they’ll make you really ill if you screw up. I still haven’t eaten any, but Green Deane does and relates his method here.
I let pokeweed plants get big, then chop them back to use as mulch/compost around my fruit trees. One day I might get around to eating them, but for now… I’ll just enjoy their strange beauty under less life-endangering conditions.
I agree whole-heartedly! Poke is incredibly beautiful and powerful! I also agree it must be an accumulator and is most certainly big medicine when handled properly.
I blogged about poke too…
In the research that I did… I came across the idea that the "weeds" actually help the other plants while they're actively growing!
I like shooting pics of poke… the birds eating poke… but… There are plenty of weeds I can eat that aren't going to poison me…
I put pulled up poke all over my potato plants as a mulch and then took them off a few days later when it occurred to me that it might poison my potatoes. Have you had any problem with the fruit from the trees you mulched with poke?
No, never. I’ve used it.
My father has eaten Pokeweed a few times, he mixes them in spinach. They grow around our backyard and around a fishing and boating lake in Ohio. I tried them once or twice as a kid and was not impressed.
The scary thing is we never knew they were poisonous if
Not prepared properly. Speaking of green dean I took his wild edible plants field class in a park in West Palm Beach a few years back, I highly recommend it. It’s important to have the right knowledge to be equipped with before eating wild plants.
I agree. I enjoyed taking Green Deane’s class. He knows his stuff.
Pokesalad Annie ate it all the time! Pick young leaves, boil and throw out the water 3x, then season and eat.
I’m curious if you ever tried the poke, David? Most people eat it boiled (too much trouble to prepare it that way) but in the coalfields of western Virginia we eat it another way. You pick the shoots when they are about 3 to 4 inches high (before the leaves totally unfurl). Cut the shoot at ground level, take home rinse them off and shake off the excess water. You want to try them. Roll the shoots in a mixture of 50/50 flour & cornmeal, we usually used the same cornmeal mix we used for cornbread (NO SUGAR MIX!) and pan fry them way you would okra. Never known anyone to get sick eating them this way and it beats the heck out of cooking them 3 or 4 times. However if you a lot of them at one meal they will make your mouth feel raw. Every single spring I always ate too many of the first mess and ended up with a sore mouth. ♀️ About that same time in the spring we foraged morels too. We fried them the same way.