another unknown needs a name

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by 2Regina, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. 2Regina

    2Regina Member

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    It will produce bluish-black berries that the birds love to eat. I have no idea if it is poisonous. Does anyone have an idea what it is?

    Regina
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Pokeweed. Frequently asked about.
     
  3. 2Regina

    2Regina Member

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    I feel pretty stupid growing a weed in my garden. Thanks for letting me know. I will be sure to remove it tomorrow.
     
  4. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Hey, hey! Define "weed". Plants that have chosen their own spot to grow can have worth and beauty, too. I have evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) in my garden---I am fascinated by its nocturnal blooming---and mullein (Verbascum thapsus) plants, some of which are 6-8 feet tall. Both of these are considered by some to be weeds. Pokeweed can be an impressive plant, too. Yes, most of it is poisonous, and ink/dye can be made from the berries. Along with the rampant urbanization of our country comes the disappearance of wild beauties such as the aforementioned three. The goldfinches enjoy mullein seeds; moths visit my primroses. Birds did like your pokeweed berries. Not all beauty is purchased. It may already be in your own back yard.
     
  5. 2Regina

    2Regina Member

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    Yes, I totally agree with you, but this Polkweed did not choose it's place....I did after visiting a relative who had it growing in their yard. I'm getting rid of it mainly because it is poisonous weed to mammals. I have bird feeders to assit the birds and frankly, I don't want the birds to spread more seeds for more Polkweed to grow in my neighborhood where we have cats, dogs, squirrels and rabbits.

    Thanks for your response.
    Regina
     
  6. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Being native over much of the country implies most of the
    animals mentioned are immune or wise enough not to ingest
    Pokeweed. Which by the way is a healthy Spring green veg-
    etable when properly prepared. Also single berries are eaten
    daily by some as a tonic. I believe the toxicity claims are
    overblown.
    Regards
    Chris
     
  7. 2Regina

    2Regina Member

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    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  9. 2Regina

    2Regina Member

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    Thanks. It was a good read on it.
     
  10. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Judging by the fact that birds are (were) eating the berries and, apparently, surviving, I daresay that wild animals may have a tolerance for them that domestic pets may not.
     
  11. 2Regina

    2Regina Member

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    From what I have read, birds only survive because the seed of the Polkweed is too hard and unable to break down while passing through the their small digestive tract. The bird excrement thus contains the whole seed and eventually creates another poisonous plant. I certainly don't need a future grandchild of mine or a neighbor's child seeing it's berries and thinking they're good to eat. One less thing to worry about is a good thing when it comes to children.
     
  12. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    No correlation should be made between what some birds can eat and what mammals can safely ingest. After all, even the differences in plants poisonous to different types of mammals can be significant -- as can be seen in Common Weeds Poisonous to Grazing Livestock (comparing plants poisonous to cattle, sheep, horses and goats)
     
  13. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Also some good human foods like e.g. chocolate is deadly poisonous to dogs, onion is poisonous to horses and cattle, and so on. No predicting at all!
     
  14. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    Togata57 has a point re the value of native plants. While I'm not suggesting you keep this particular 'weed', it is important to bear in mind that insect pollinators, especially wild bees, rely heavily on native plants for nourishment (check out this link - pokeweed can grow to 10' tall! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pokeweed).

    The (careful) introduction of some native species back into our gardens will act as a beacon directing these little guys into our gardens and providing an important food source for them. I am purposely incorporating some native plants such as yarrow, Queen Anne's lace and goldenrod; the latter was a volunteer into the garden which I have decided to keep at the back border.
     

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