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BRIEF: Are Pokeweed berries poisonous?


QUESTION:
I was out looking for experts on poisonous plants (wow, there has been a lot of study in ag. on the pokeweed (Phytolacca americana). I am hoping you can answer my question or perhaps lead me in the right direction. From what I have read, the plant and roots are extremely poisonous to mammals. What about the berries? Are they a good food source for birds, in particular? I have a HUGE plant that is a volunteer in my flowerbed and hate to yank it out if it has any value at all. Beside it's a beautiful plant that gets me all kinds of compliments. If they only knew it is there through no effort on my part.

ANSWER:

This whole plant is poisonous including the berries and seeds although: 1) Southerners have boiled the leaves and after changing the pot liquor a few times, eaten the greens. 2) The berries have been baked into pies without any recorded trouble. I wouldn't try either one, myself. It is a pretty plant, but children have been poisoned from eating the raw berries and severerely poisoned eating the root. Your call!