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Noxious weed or valuable native?

05/27/2014 in native plants, weeds


mockingbird visits

mockingbird visits

I keep a few pokeweeds around for the birds, and the photo-ops…

poke berries and raindrops

poke berries and raindrops

Awfully pretty…

Article by Georgia DNR advocating the value of pokeweed for the wildlife

One of the most fascinating and valuable plants in my backyard is not found in a flower bed, nor is it watered or fertilized. It grows in a narrow, undeveloped border between my yard and my neighbor’s garden.
You can use pokeberry to teach about times when something that appears to have little value can turn out to be a real treasure.

The above article discusses the giant leopard moth, hummingbirds, various mammals that make use of the pokeweed… And goes on to discuss medicinal uses, and surprisingly… even uses in solar tech!

Arts and crafts
Any discussion about pokeweed needs a mention of the constitution having been written with pokeberry ink…
Here’s a recipe for ink

Personally, I’m not going to eat anything that requires several changes of water to avoid poisoning… there are lots of weeds I can boil…

Green Deane talks at length about preparation

The Alabama Indians referred to Europeans as “those who eat poke weed.”
boiling was a difficult task… for a green that has far less nutrition than say a rat.

There are a lot of people who complain about the seedlings…


And as can be clearly seen… there are some seedlings… but to give the plant it’s due… I had a pokweed growing here for a number of years… before replacing it with these daylilies this Spring…
Of course there’s babies!


If the soil is moist, the seedlings pull easily…

ready to be mulched

ready to be mulched

The daylilies can now be mulched…
I could have saved a step… by mulching with the pokeweeds….
The permaculturists will tell you that the pokeweed is a valuable part of their soil-building regime, bringing up nutrients from the subsoil beyond where their garden plants can reach…
See Native Options for Permaculture Nutrient Accumulators

Additionally… there’s a field of thought that suggests leaving some weeds growing in the garden helps the target crop by opening routes to the deeper nutrient reserves…
As discussed in this 100+ page monograph: Weeds Guardians of the Soil by Joseph A. Cocannouer

in summation
While a weed patch might not be the most attractive sight by today’s standards, a true conservative… might want to re-examine cherished beliefs, and recognize the value of the naturally occurring plants… And take heart from Matthew 6:28;

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.
They don’t toil, neither do they spin…

God put them there for a purpose… and as Earth’s Caretakers, it’s our responsibility to seek out those purposes and work within God’s handiwork, rather than in opposition.

pokeweed gif

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3 responses to Noxious weed or valuable native?

  1. Donna said on 05/28/2014

    I think nature knows best! What a useful plant despite the homely looks.

  2. Jayne said on 06/29/2014

    I always tried to keep a poke weed or two at the edges of the yard. I think the berries are attractive.

  3. You know, I’ve actually tried growing poke weed from seed with no luck. That’s pretty sad!

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