Do you know this berry plant?

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by mdprepper, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

    These grow near my house. When they ripen they are round and very dark/black in color. When you squeeze them they will stain your fingers red. The stem has a reddish/purplish color to it.

    I suspect they may be Elderberries. :scratch

    I will NOT pick or eat them until my Uncle Bob can come out to do an in person identification. But I do not want to waste his time in case any of you can look at the photos and tell me yea or nay.

    Sorry the pics are not the best. My husband has my camera, so my daughter took these with her phone.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  2. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    Wildmist says that they don't look anything like the elderberries that she used to make wine, and, the way that you describe their mature-state, she says that they can't be elderberries as they are more red when mature.

    I haven't seen that kind of berry before, so, I really can't tell you what they could be.

    I did I quick image-search for an elderberry and found this:


    Wildmist's berries that she used for wine looked more like below:


  3. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    Elderberries have those little jagged teeth along the edges of the leaves.

    I'm not sure what your berries are, mdprepper, but I'm reasonably sure they're not elderberries.

    Let us know when you find out what they are. I'm curious now.
  4. twiggie

    twiggie The end is extremely nigh

    Looks to me like polk sallet as it's known around here or Pokeweed
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2010
  5. Genevieve

    Genevieve I'm done - gone

    could they be thimbleberries? you can make jams and sauce out of them.

    This is one of the wild edible berries that are dome shaped and their colour is usually red when they ripen. The thimbleberry is better for jams and sauce than eating. The bush tree of the wild berry is 3-6 feet tall and forms thickets.
  6. wolfwhisper

    wolfwhisper Active Member

    Pokeweed Berries
    A pokeweed, also known as pokeberry or inkberry, is a perennial plant native to the North American continent. Pokeweed berries grow in bunches and become purple when they fully ripen. If crushed with bare hands, the hands turn purple. These berries contain traces of phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin which are toxic for mammals. Consumption of pokeweed berries may lead to headaches, diarrhea and severe abdominal pain. If consumed in large quantities, these berries can lead to complications such as quickening of heartbeats and a feeling of giddiness or seizures, eventually leading to coma or death.
    I just researched this and the picture you posted is the same for the pokeberry so please don't eat it.:eek:
  7. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    Good thing mdprepper checked it out good before eating them! I'm glad someone was able to identify them. Thanks, wolfwhisper

    Genevieve, you must have a different kind of thimbleberry than we have. Ours have one big red berry on a stem, and have huge leaves like a cross between raspberry leaves and maple leaves. The berries are like a red raspberry only not quite as flavorful.
  8. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    . Wolfwhisper is dead on with what they are- Poke weed--can make you very sick, but my chickens when they get loose tend to run right over and scarf them down..:eek: All the birds around here tend to eat them up too.
    I do know that in the early spring down south, they eat the shoots of this plant after two simmers in clean water.. Me I am too chicken to try pokeweed salad.
    Poison is poison to me...

    Two Thumbs up for Wolfwhisper!:congrat::2thumb:
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  9. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

    WolfWhisper, thank you very much! After you gave me the name I googled it and that is exactly what it is.

    On a side note: While googling it, I found that many herbalist do use poke root and berries in VERY small doses for the immune system, breast health, arthritis and many other ailments. I even found this: Pokeweed on the American Cancer Society website.

    For the Susun Weed fans, she has some good information on its uses also. (She always has great information)
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  10. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

    Yup that's pokeweed. If that's on your property, pull it out now. I removed several old pokes at our old house that had taproots as big as my arm.
  11. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    Yep and it grows all over the place around here. The goats won't even eat it.
  12. Genevieve

    Genevieve I'm done - gone

    I didn't say it WAS thimbleberry. I said COULD it be thimbleberry. Where I live we only have wild blackberry bushes, so I don't know any of the other kinds of berries.
    so now that mdprepper posted a pic, I know what poke weed looks like. and I know what elderberries look like now too.I think:scratch
  13. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    A lot of berries go by common names in different parts of the country. What we call huckleberries in Montana aren't the same as what friends of ours in Missouri call "huckleberries"! The sad little blackberries we grow here are NOTHING like the big, juicy, sweet blackberries we picked in Kentucky! You may have "thimbleberries" there in WV and we may have them here, and they may not be the same berry.

    Actually, I was hoping you'd describe what your thimbleberries look and taste like, because I enjoy learning about things like that. When we travel I'm always looking for wild edibles, and berries are always fun to find. And I love to hear about what people can plant and grow in different parts of the country.

    If you have the same kind of wild blackberries we picked in SE Kentucky...lucky you! They're delicious!
  14. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

    This is a Farm Boy question, we battle these all the time...

    Also called 'Polk Root' around here by the old timers...


    You 'Can' eat the early leaves on the plants, it's called 'Polk Salad'...
    The berries are toxic with a foul smell and taste, but are sometimes used as a dye for fabrics and leather.

    Link: Pokeweed - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The very young leaves can be harvested before there is ANY red in them, and you cut the stem out of the leaf structure...
    And if you boil them for about 5 minutes, change water and boil them again for about 5 minutes you can eat them.
    Most people I know boil them again before canning them, and it's worst than canned salted spinich, pretty much a glob of green crap in a can that tastes and smells HORRIBLE.

    (old timers thought the worse it tastes, the better it was for you!)

    These 'Greens' are called 'Polk Salad'.
    It's nasty. I grew up on it. I'd rather eat my shoes after a walk in sewage, wouldn't smell or taste any worse...

    The berries can be eaten, but the seeds are toxic as all get out!
    Most people boil the berries until they are liquid, then strain the seeds out.
    Again, the seeds are toxic, and one mistake and you are DEAD.

    My grandparents used to think the berry juice helped with Bursitis and Arthritis, but I have my doubts.

    Polk berries make for a pretty good makeshift ink, they stain like crazy,
    And they will tan leather in a pinch, but it turns the leather a sort of 'Pink' color that is not what I'd recommend!

    You are MUCH better off with the acids from green walnut husks for tanning leather than you are with polk berries!
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2010