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Invasion of Survival Weeds aka Pokeweed

 
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From the land of giant pokeweed- I know they’re edible when young and cooked right, but they’re everywhere. Perennials with strong roots, I need a hori hori knife! Even if I got them all, the birds will reseed plenty more, so in a crisis I can alway count on spring seedlings to harvest.
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Mama pokeweed
Mama pokeweed
 
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Location: 4200 ft elevation, zone 8a desert, high of 118F, lows in teens
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I could use some poke seeds if you want to do a swap later, Tj!  I'll post my swap list soon...

In the spirit of your clever and interesting thread, this year our explosion of survival weeds were pigweed amaranth. That's one of my very favorite, as the leaves taste quite decent cooked as a green and are very high in minerals.

It's also a big favorite of quail, something I've learned since moving to the desert SW.  In years when the amaranth is able to grow in big, swift stands we have much higher baby quail survival rates. Then in the following year, huge "gangs" of dapper young males roam about in the mornings.  They are so fun to watch.  Then that year is a very successful predator year, too.

Another population that explodes a bit in these unusually wet desert years are tumbleweed - the "dreaded" tumbleweed which helped a lot of people survive the Dustbowl.  Another true survival weed.  I imagine poke and pigweed amaranth also helped during those hard times.
 
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Thank you for reminding me of a plant that I had lots of fun playing with as a kid.

Of course, I did not know at that time that the pokeweed was edible.

The berries are loved by birds and I loved using them to dye stuff.
 
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I always thought pokeweed was poisonous except for, was it the young shoots?
 
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Because of a fairly annoying ad on Gab, I learned about purslane (same thing as pigweed?).  It is a scraggly weed with juicy, oval leaves and it is edible.

Somewhat later the husband was fussing about this weed in the garden and was yanking it up right and left.  I chomped down a handful of it and told him to consider it a ground cover that would crowd out less desireable weeds.

I then planted a sprig on my hugel-stump to see how it would fare in part shade.

I am learning (mainly from Permies) that most of the weeds in the yard are actually useful plants!
 
Tj Kelsey
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Caitlin Robbins wrote:I always thought pokeweed was poisonous except for, was it the young shoots?


It is very poisonous (to people) once it gets past the young shoots stage. The roots and berries are always toxic. Since it’s hard to know just when the leaves are no longer safe, there are cooking methods to reduce the risk. If I remember right, you should boil it, drain it, boil it in new water, drain it, then cook it for serving or canning. And still, use only the leaves from young plants (like before the stems start to turn red). Of course, some people say poke weed salad is tasty, but I haven’t had the nerve to try it raw.
 
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The name was poke sallat. I think people have been mispronouncing this word so long it has become normalized. Poke salad is not to be interpreted as eating it raw. We've just changed how it is spelled and spoken.
 
Anne Miller
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Here are a couple of threads on the usefulness of pokeweed that might be of interest:

https://permies.com/t/11347/Pokeweed-Roots-Berries

https://permies.com/t/139986/eat-poke-weed
 
Tj Kelsey
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:The name was poke sallat. I think people have been mispronouncing this word so long it has become normalized. Poke salad is not to be interpreted as eating it raw. We've just changed how it is spelled and spoken.


Well now, that ‘splains a lot! Thanks, I’ve been away from this part of the country for decades and am still learning the lingo, and the weeds.
 
Just put the cards in their christmas stocking and PRESTO! They get it now! It's like you're the harry potter of permaculture. richsoil.com/cards
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