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Can anyone tell me what this is please, and is it ok to eat?


This is it. Thanks 


  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    I teach wild food and foraging skills, its not one I recognise, so I wouldn't advise it till someone ID's it

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,104

    Bit hard to tell, but the flower spike looks remarkably like Pokeweed aka Phytolacca americana

    If it is( and don't take my word for it then the following from an American acquaintance may be useful.

    Don`t worry,, none of the plant is toxic except the roots, that is an old wives tale that persists to this day. I have poke weed growing everywhere here. The leaves in early spring are eaten like spinach and taste similar. When young the stems can be peeled and steamed like asparagus or sliced and fried like okra. The plant does have oxalic acid but so does spinach, beet greens, cabbage, chocolate, black tea and almost all dark leafy greens. The berries are food for wild birds, and my dog loves them. We used the dark purple juice for ink when I was a kid. If the plant was toxic there would be no one left in the south because it is a spring staple. People drive the back roads here searching for poke weed. At this time of year it is too strong and tough to eat but next March or April it will be coming up again. You can also prune the plant back late spring and eat the new growth. All that is required is to wash and boil the leaves for 10 to 15 minutes then pour into a colander and let drain. When reasonably dry sauté in oil about ten minutes and add salt to taste. We like to add one or two eggs and scramble those with the greens till done. Serve with hot buttered cornbread and a dash of pepper sauce. Poke weed also has anti cancer properties and about the same vitamin content as spinach.

    Last edited: 23 August 2016 10:30:40

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,104

    Sorry about the odd additions to this post, not my doing!

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    The flower spike looks very much like a photo that Philippa smith 2 posted on Runnybeaks "What is this?" quiz thread.

    Just had a look back and she identified it as "Phytolaca" (Pokeweed or Red ink plant)

    Hers was green but she did say the lumps turn purple in the autumn. The leaves don't look the same though image

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,843

    Looks like Pokeweed to me too.  Pretty sure the leaves are similar to the pokeweed leaves I've seen at East Ruston and elsewhere. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,705

    I am sure it is too, but would you eat it based on our say so?

    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,234

    Is it just me???

    Why would you want to eat it? image

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,136

    There's a song called Poke Salad Annie by Tony Joe White - talks about plant leaves foraged by poor folk in the southern swamps.

    All the advice I have seen is to make sure that the plant is kept away from livestock but I do know that the local wild birds love the berries.  It also self seeds liberally so I spend a lot of time pulling it up in spring and not eating it.  If I want spinach type leaves, I use fresh baby spinach from the supermarket because it won't grow well for me or else the slugs get it.

    Prefer rocket.

    Last edited: 23 August 2016 12:47:51

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,157

    the seedheads look like my Phytolacca but the leaves are a bit different, probably a different species or variety

    In the sticks near Peterborough
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