Today’s Shot 192

Phytolacca americana

Pokeberry Buds

🍃 Cee’s Flower of the Day -FOTD 🍃

Pokeweed, Pokeberry, American Pokeweed, Great Pokeweed, Red Ink Plant, Pigeonberry, Inkberry, Cancer Root, American Spinach, American Nightshade, Virginia Poke, Bear’s Grape

The berries, leaves, stems, and roots of the pokeweed are all toxic to humans. Despite this fact, the early spring greens have been used, after repeated boilings (draining off the water each time) to remove toxins, in a dish called poke sallet. In past years it could even be found canned in the deep South.

The purple berry juice (poke or pokan, meaning blood / bloody) has been used as a dye / ink. While it is considered an invasive weed, it is also cultivated by some, especially for its berries, which birds and animals enjoy. This makes it a great spot to wait for those wildlife photoshoots!

Notes of Interest

Each berry contains 10 seeds protected by a hard outer layer that can keep it viable for 40 years.

Pokeberry even has a song: The Elvis version, Polk Salad Annie

Pokeberries and Affordable Solar Power: Science Daily

I did not realize I had a pokeberry in my yard until it reached out it’s lovely, berry fingers and painted purple designs all the way down the side of my vehicle. It has grown up surrounded by other bushes, and is now over 6-feet tall. If you get the juice on your skin, as I did while taking the photos, expect to be wearing it for a while.

*Gloves are advised if you must handle Pokeberry to prevent toxins from being absorbed through the skin.

© Pilgrimage Studio


    1. Pilgrimage Studio

      IKR!? I listened to it all morning. I have never seen them canned… amazing that it was in stores. At least you got to see them… I’m not sure I’d try them though – but at least I know how to prepare them if I ever needed to 🥗 Happy Friday! 🌟😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dawn Renee

    I appreciate what you teach about plants. I too have Pokeberry plants growing at the back of the property. I think they are pretty beasts.
    I pulled some out growing by the house. I find it amazing what people have learned. If something made my family sick, I’d stay away from harvesting it. Yet people knew to take the young greens and just keep boiling it off. Just wow to risk it! My Dad told me about, I think my great uncle, who had a ranch hand that was native Indian. My uncle watched him work through poison ivy and never get afflicted with the itches. He asked the Indian about it and was informed the knowledged Indian ate the youngest leaves of the plant, thus gaining an immunity for the season. My uncle plucked & consumed young growths too late the following year and was hospitalized. I have not researched any truth behind eating the leaves yet, but that seems cool. I won’t try it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pilgrimage Studio

      I’m not sure I’d try poke sallet either. That is so cool about how the ranch hand gained an immunity to poison ivy that way. Makes sense. Of course, it’s one thing to be raised that way and possibly another to try it when you’re older – from the sounds of it. I’m so sorry he was hospitalized. I hope it wasn’t for long.

      I do know you should not burn poison ivy as inhaling the smoke can make you very sick.

      I think that to try some of these things, an experienced guide / healer is needed to make sure it’s safe. Time of year and stage of plant growth (and part of plant) can be key factors.

      Of course I did dip my hand and half my arm today in Pokeberry juice. Eyeball roll.

      They are pretty plants! Sometimes the juice in the berries can ferment in the heat and can make birds intoxicated. I enjoy seeing the plants though and they are great for wildlife.

      Happy Friday to you and yours! 🦝 🦎 🦝


      1. Dawn Renee

        Very true, age may play with results. I didn’t know that great uncle, it was a generation too far. It’s my understanding that after some suffering he was okay. I think I recall they had to open a new airway.
        Yep, I heard burning Ivy was awful to be near. Guides and healers take botany to another level! Eyeball roll ( : ) ) how did you go about doing that to 1/2 way up your arm ?!

        Liked by 1 person

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