Wednesday, November 18, 2015

HELP IDENTIFY THIS PLANT - POKEWEED

As I was roaming around the property, just relaxing and unwinding, a plant caught my eye.  We've never seen this on the property.

It's POKEWEED!

Pokeweed Berries
Not even in this spot, which we've walked past a dozen times, have we ever seen it before.  It just sort of sprang up over the last couple of months.  I"m sure it's poisonous and/or  otherwise dangerous because we don't seem to have the luck for something naturally occurring that's also edible, LOL.

Pokeweed
It's certainly striking in appearance, quite beautiful actually.  My guess is a bird dropped a seed and the rest, of course, is nature doing what it does best.  

Any thoughts?

Update:  You all came through once again!  POKEWEED!!  

And as has been noted by other below, the stories and links and comments are wonderful.  I swear it is true, you can learn something new every day!  

Thank you all!

37 comments:

Linda said...

Thats Pokeweed. Song birds eat the berries but I think they are toxic to people.

donna baker said...

Pokeweed at the end of the season. Indians used the berries as dye. When it is young, the leaves are blanched twice then cooked as you would wilted spinach. Free and healthy. Don't eat the leaves without the blanching and no berries eaten at all.

Gail said...

Poke salad, poke sallet, delicious spring green, must be blanched and the water changed when cooking. Man, it is a staple here and we all get excited when the new comes up. The berries, poison to us, are loved by birds and other animals and also make a great fabric dye!

You want to pick them as they are first coming up in spring. I just break the young shoots off, wash them and blanch. The younger the plant the less you have to blanch. Drain, then Mom always cooked bacon and used a little grease to cook the liquid out. Usually the bacon seasons it enough Mmmmm, nothing like poke salad with crumbled bacon and a side of cornbread.

Here is an old post I did http://gailatthefarm.blogspot.com/2011/04/poke-salad-spring-tonic.html

You have a treasure!

Kim said...

Pokeweed. Invasive. Will show up wherever there is freshly churned soil. Yes, birds tend to be carriers but if you let those berries drop you will get a ton more. The only good thing I've discovered about it is that those large white worms that can chew up lawns tend to congregate around its roots. It keeps them out of most of my lawn and makes it easy to collect them for the birds. But the plants can get seriously tall and it can get everywhere.

Practical Parsimony said...

Poke it is! When birds eat it and poop, the stain is horrendous. Try finding purple poop on the laundry! During the Depression people survived on poke salat and food found in woods or fields.

Only eat it when the plant is about six inches high. Boil it three times, discarding all water between boilings. Otherwise, you will suffer. When Mama and Daddy were first married, he brought home poke and put it on to boil and eat. He refused to boil it multiple times--"maw never it like that." Well, he did not watch his mother very close. Mama warned him and refused to eat any of what he prepared. He spent three days with the backdoor trots. And, they really did have to go out the back door. He swore he would never eat it again if he lived. Mama always chuckled when telling that story.

The closest poke salat festival is about 17 miles to me. We went and ate poke salat. They cook the greens down and throw beaten eggs in the pot. Can you imagine being poor and getting home grown eggs and greens in the same pot with cornbread on the side.

Poke berries were a concern for my mother. She warned us multiple times each summer not to eat them or touch the plant.

Have you ever heard the song Poke Salat Annie? There is disagreement on how to pronounce the two words. It is not "polk." And, it is never pronounce as "salad." The song was recorded right here in Alabama.

"Poke" is the name for a bag and further back what pockets were called. So, you go around and stuff pockets full of the green because you find it accidentally sometimes. Or, you get a bag, probably cloth, to gather the green. Ever heard of a "pig in a poke"?

I fight poke in my yard because none of the renters feel inclined to clean up their yards to the fence line.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytolacca_americana

Practical Parsimony said...

My most read --post:

http://practical-parsimony.blogspot.com/2012/05/loving-to-eat-poisonous-poke-salat.html

ladyhawthorne said...

Yup, pokeberry! We have a bog one in our flower bed. You might want to bookmark the site this article is on, I have found it very helpful: http://www.foragingtexas.com/2006/04/pokeweedpoke-salat.html And if you follow the author on facebook you can learn when he is doing some nature walks in Houston.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz4DvG4bQ2o

i have this on my jukebox. i love this song!

Shirley Stock said...

I love when you have questions because you get such great stories and information from your commenters!

Anne in the kitchen said...

I had to start singing "Poke Salad Annie" when I saw this. About every 2 years we seem to find a new crop of it in our yard. We attack it using the hoe and pull method because left unchecked I would have an entire entire yard filled with pokeweed.

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

Also known as Love Lies Bleeding.. The berries while toxicto eat make a beautiful dye. They have a tap root from hell.

Jacquelineand.... said...

Here, love lies bleeding is an amaranth and is safe to eat.

Jacquelineand.... said...

Poke berries also make a vivid magenta/aging to a warm reddish-brown ink, hence it's other popular name: Ink Plant.

Here is an excellent tutorial... (http://www.gavethat.com/2011/09/poke-berry-ink.html#.Vk0gpnarTIU) just let me include that if you want to help slow the fading process once the ink is on paper, drop a small IRON nail in the bottom of each bottle. An old trick from medieval times.

carol pavlik said...

Fascinating comments. We have this in our yard too. In Ohio. Never knew what it was.

Texas Rose said...

Really interesting and informative comments. Sounds like you have another dish for 2nd Man to try out!

steakandeggs said...

Put me down as one of those people that love poke salad. We have some on our place, but not enough to cook anymore. We use to have a lot, but don't anymore. I don't know if is because of the lack of rain or what. We have one that came up in the garden fence. Been hoping it would make more. If it is growing on your place think about eating some. Just be sure to precook it a couple of time and discard the water using fresh water each time. I never eat it after it gets big or after it puts on berries.

Texan said...

Yep Poke... my grandma always would cook some up. I don't love it but I don't dislike it either. The cooking directions you have been given are what I remember as well. We have it on our land as well, but I don't ever cook it.

1st Man said...

The berries kinda looked poisonous to me. I can see birds going crazy for them though.

1st Man said...

Dye? That's cool, I will look that up. Makes me nervous about eating something that has be washed a few times, or you'll get sick , ha.

Little Julie said...

Oh, the plague of my yard!!! Everytime I drive by it on the lawn tractor (I have a few of these guys), the berries fall off and land on the seat and I end up with polka dot pants. Have to admit, they do dye my pants a lovely color purple, but not by choice.

HERMES said...

HI, WE USED IT LIKE MEDICINE, (JUST EXTERNAL), IS VERY GOOD IN STRIKES, ANTIINFLAMATORY, TEA SHOWER FOR ANY PAIN, OR SMASHED WITH THE SAME PURPOSES. IS NOT AN AMARANTH. THE INK USED IN MAGICAL WROTES. IS GOOD FOR BEES.

1st Man said...

Wow!! I'm so tempted by this (of course when we get small leaves on new plants (probably next Spring). But all that talking about how dangerous they are and washing them over and over makes me nervous, ha. It must be really good and worth it though! I LOVE your link to the post, thanks for sharing. Maybe I'll seek it out next Spring...I haven't seen it 'young' but thanks to your post, I'll know what it looks like.

1st Man said...

Thanks for that...good thought about the white worms (grubs I think?) and keeping them out of the lawn. They are a pretty plant for sure. Thanks for the info!!

1st Man said...

Thank you for such great info!! I love it when people share knowledge like this. I'm off to read the link you posted. Never heard the song but will check it out too. Thanks!!!!

1st Man said...

Wonderful post. Thank you!!!

1st Man said...

I need to find out when this guy is doing some;thing here. That's great. Thank you much!!! And great link, I have saved it!!

1st Man said...

That is wonderful!!! Thank you....what a great song.

1st Man said...

Isn't it great? You know I always think we can look things up on google, but I like hearing from people who share such wonderful stories and links and personal experiences. Glad you enjoy too!

1st Man said...

It's funny that on so much property, I've never seen it before. Of course I haven't been able to see every square inch so perhaps it's hiding elsewhere. This one was in a spot I see all the time but this plant was never there before. Will check out next time I roam around, will be keeping my eye out for them elsewhere.

1st Man said...

I've never heard that, I will check it out. Funny that plants have same names/nicknames but can be so different. Thank you both!!

1st Man said...

What? That is so cool too!! Gosh I love everyone for giving us such great info. Off to check out this link too (and iron nail is a great secret tip). Thanks again!!!

1st Man said...

Great comments huh? I'm glad everyone has shared and glad it helped you too!!

1st Man said...

LOL not sure he would be on the same page but we'll see. Next spring anyway. I might however try that ink sooner. Love that idea.

1st Man said...

Poke salad, another vote! Dang it much be so good to risk poisoning, ha. I will probably have to watch for it next year. I might score some berries though. Love the ink/dye idea.

1st Man said...

I want to try but don't want to, if that makes sense, ha. We'll see. I have till next Spring to work up the courage, ha.

1st Man said...

Ha, purple polka dot pants, sounds like a pain for sure. I'm going to try to get some berries for ink.

1st Man said...

hello! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your info. That's nice to know. And I love that bees like it, I hope our bees found it. Going to see about some ink!! Thank you, I hope you'll come back and share knowledge in the future!!