Monday, July 25, 2011

Pokeberry

OK, it's a weed.  But I happen to think it's a very attractive weed, and I have been letting it grow, where it isn't in the way.  Besides, birds love the berries.  The plant can grow very large.  These are about six feet tall.  Look at those bright red stems. 
It started flowering a while ago.  In the middle of the little white flowers, you can see the berry beginning to form.
As the flowers fade, the berries become larger.  Eventually these green berries will turn deep purple.

I must caution you that all parts of these plants, including the berries, are toxic to mammels.  That said, poke used to be harvested when it was very young, washed and soaked thoroughly three times, and made into "poke salit."  I don't think you could get me to eat it, though.  There's too much stuff out there that you can eat, without risk of death.

The berries can be made into a dye, and the juice used as ink.  One of the most interesting modern uses for the berries seems to be as a dye that coats a new kind of solar panel cell, greatly increasing its efficiency.

So, I'll let my poke grow, and enjoy it for what it is, a weed that can be useful, in many ways.

8 comments:

Madi and Mom said...

The little bity green berries look like itty bity tomatoes.

Very kind of you to let it grow especially since the birds like it.
Hugs Madi and Mom

TexWisGirl said...

i've heard of poke salad, but no, i'm not up for trying any anytime soon! :)

Sharon said...

I had several HUGE plants in my flower bed, the stalks were about 1 1/2" thick! I had the guys cut them down, they were taking over.

They do make a great dye - birds eat and if you have laundry hanging, well, lets just say, it's pretty permanent. Really looks bad on those white diapers, no matter how many times you wash and wash!

I wouldn't eat poke salit on a bet, either, no way!

missing moments said...

The birds love you.

willowhousechronicles said...

Dont' forget the song they inspired: Poke Salad Annie

Leontien said...

I didn't know that you could make dye out of those berries!!! that is great!

And i am glad that you like my "hot cow" post!

Leontien

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I've heard of this weed before...but like you, it's green and kinds of pretty, and we don't have much green around here, so I'd probably keep it around in hopes that the birds and butterflies might like it :)

~Lisa

Terry said...

Those close-ups are really great.