We are exploring the plants we have either discovered on our property during 2013, or that we learned new uses for this year.
You can find Part 1 of Wild Edibles and Medicinals 2013 by clicking the link.
Here is the next installment of plants:
American Pokeberry – (Phytolacca americana)
This and the following plant I term “I wanna be like Elderberry” – but so many people see them and say, “Oh, Elderberry”. Now, even if they trick you into thinking this and then you feel let down, do not be too discouraged.
Pokeberry, Pokeweed, or whatever you want to call it, has another name: American Nightshade.
Ohhh – Nightshade. Pretty easy way to know that the plant is bad. Do Not Touch. Right?
Perhaps not. Like anything, usually something that is horrible in quantity can be beneficial in minute amounts. However, experience is the only way to gain a “hand” on working with nightshade and, as such, I cannot tell you what to do with it.
I can say that Native Americans and the Chinese have both used it as medicine – and that is good enough for me to prove that there is value in it, when used properly.
However, I have read of people making jam out of it and straining out the seeds. Cannot say I would do that.
Even if you do not consume it, it will attract song birds which are not only pleasant for their singing, but for their bug control as well.
American Beautyberry – (Callicarpa americana)
Beautyberry is another that makes people think “Oh, Elderberry”, but unlike Pokeberry these are more easily adaptable for human use.
With unique groupings of berries around the stem of the plant at the base of the leaves, it is unique and easily identifiable from Pokeberry or Elderberry.
Raw berries can be eaten, though not to indulgence. They can be made into a jelly as well.
The leaves can be used as an insect repellent, notably against mosquitoes.
As with Pokeberry, another excellent bird attractant.
Dandelion – (Taraxacum officinale)
How many different sprays and tools are there to rip up and ruin dandelion? I am not going to bother trying to count.
Yes, you can eat Dandelion flowers and leaves. Yes, I have known that for a while. What I did not know before 2013 is why they are truly a beneficial plant.
You see, so many products are focused on Dandelion because of how deep the taproot is. It makes it difficult for chemicals to kill and hard for tools to dig up.
But, rather than just think “Oh this is different let’s get rid of it”, let’s instead understand why it is different.
The tap root goes down where many other plants do not. While it is down there, it brings up the nutrients that were out of reach and puts them in reach of the other plants. Kind of a nice fella, isn’t it?
So, let ’em grow.
Check back at this link for more of our Wild Edible posts!
You can seed our video about Pokeweed and Beautyberry by clicking the link or watching below: