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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pokeweed

 
I just liked this picture. I captures the pokeweed or pokeberry (Phytolacca americana) berries from just developing to fully ripe. Too bad they shouldn't be eaten because they sure are pretty!

pokeweed berries

As I discussed in the link listed below, the exact toxicity of eating pokeweed isn't very clear. The young shoots can certainly be eaten in the spring if cooked well with a couple of changes of water. Some people consider these a delicacy. Eating the berries is a little more dicey. (Although after I did that search for actual toxicity facts I ate one berry, spitting out the seed, and had no ill effects at all. It wasn't even enough to really tell you about the taste. Maybe I'll try ONE more this year!)

The berries do make a fine ink, and historically, this plant was used so commonly to produce ink that it is also known as inkweed.

You can also use the berries to make a fabric dye. Dyeing yarn using natural plants is an art in itself, and you don't usually get the color you might expect. I've never tried much along these lines- just some fooling around when I was a kid. Probably for a Girl Scout badge!

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4 comments:

Ann said...

They are pretty berries. You were brave trying one.

Tina L said...

I remember our science teacher in 7th grade talking about them. He talked us into mushing them between our fingers and smearing some on our face. I'm not sure why he thought it was funny, or why we complied, but our class sure looked funny for a day or two!

vanilla said...

I take the position that just because something grows on an attractive plant doesn't mean it has to be eaten. ;-)

Lin said...

I like the colors from beginning to end. Reminds me of the hydrangea--starting from pale green to full color. I like that.

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