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American Pokeweed, Pokeberry, Phytolacca americana

By frostweed
December 31, 2013

What a beautiful and useful plant this is! This plant is really attractive with its red stems and white flowers that turn into lovely red berries. The leaves also turn gorgeous colors in the fall. It can grow as high as six or eight feet.

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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Dec 30, 2013 9:35 PM CST
My little dog Jack and I can agree with the roots being large; the plant is attractive and colorful and the mockingbirds are happy to see the berries.

With 2 changes of water rendering the young shoots of the plant safe to consume, contains protein, carbohydrates, ash, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, Vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, Vitamin C; but contains no sodium, potassium or zinc.

(I'm still not gonna eat it!)
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
central Illinois
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jmorth
Dec 30, 2013 10:40 PM CST
I've heard of birds getting drunk on it's fruit. Nice article.
It has the potential to be rather invasive. It makes for neat photos.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Dec 30, 2013 10:46 PM CST
Yes, you have to watch for unwanted plants, but that happens with many other plants, they love to grow and spread themselves. Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
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central Illinois
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jmorth
Dec 30, 2013 11:45 PM CST
The song 'Poke Salad Annie' (Credence Clearwater Revival I think) is based on this plant.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Dec 31, 2013 12:10 AM CST
Poke Sallet or Poke Sallit, common name for it where I grew up. Awesome plant and I ate my share of it, the very tender young leaves, 3 times cooked with the water tossed every time. It was also considered medicinal by the Cherokees and by my great aunt, so she made a decoction, used it as a tonic and I reckon we all lived through it. Lovely plant.

I gathered the berries and decorated every rock and cliff on that mountainside, left my red mark wherever I went. Dyed my clothes, dyed my hair a few times, left some berries for the birds. I learned a lot from that plant, also had to wear the dreaded asphidity bag around my neck every time we went to the top of the mountain to gather it.

I still love it, but haven't painted the town red with it in a long long time! Nor have I eaten it since Aunt Bett passed away; I never trusted anyone else to fix it properly, but I swear it was so good with a little bacon grease and hot cornbread. (No sugar!!)

Thanks Jo!! Nice article. Smiling
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
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SongofJoy
Dec 31, 2013 3:48 AM CST
I love this plant and have it on the boundaries of our property. Of course, it shows up other places as well. Nice article, Josephine.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Dec 31, 2013 10:17 AM CST
Dear Sharon, I feel like an amateur talking about native and wild plants when I compare myself to you.
You grew up interacting with plants through you relationship to Aunt Bett and your close connection to the land.

I developed this passion about 18 years ago, so I am fairly new to this form of gardening in close communion with nature.
Nevertheless I love them just as much, and I do all I can to save our native plants from disappearing from our immediate surroundings.

Thank you for being such a loving and caring presence on this site, you make all interesting and fun.
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Butterflies Garden Ideas: Master Level Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Birds Cat Lover Xeriscape
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frostweed
Dec 31, 2013 10:22 AM CST
Dear Tee, I know you love native and wild plants too, so I feel a close connection to you although we have never met.

Keep up the good work.
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Dec 31, 2013 5:53 PM CST
Jo, the best part about natives and wildflowers is in the learning and learning can take place at any age. I am so glad you and so many others are as interested in them as I am. For me, it was a way of life that stayed all these years in my mind, but that's because I did have the advantage of my great aunt and my grandmother. No matter how you learn about them, just keep right on learning and enjoying. They are natures gifts to us and in the end, they are so important.
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Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
Gardening dilettante, that's me!
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fiwit
Jan 1, 2014 7:01 AM CST
frostweed said:
I developed this passion about 18 years ago, so I am fairly new to this form of gardening in close communion with nature.
Nevertheless I love them just as much, and I do all I can to save our native plants from disappearing from our immediate surroundings.


If you've been doing it for 18 years, it no longer qualifies as "fairly new" Hilarious! That's a fair chunk of time, and you've used it well, moving from "learner" to "teacher," even though you'll be a "learner" for the rest of your life. Thumbs up
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Jan 1, 2014 7:35 AM CST
frostweed said:Dear Tee, I know you love native and wild plants too, so I feel a close connection to you although we have never met.

Keep up the good work.


Thank you, Josephine. I love what you've done with your property and I've learned a lot from you.


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

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