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Phytolacca berriesPhytolacca americana
Pokeweed, Poke Sallet
A floppy Uranus plant with vibrant purple-red stems, pokeweed likes to grow in open woodlands, in fields, along fences, and other border areas.  Although the whole plant is poisonous to some extent (the roots are the most poisonous), people have been eating and growing pokeweed for centuries. Native Americans gave the seeds to Europeans, who so much liked poke sallet ("sallet" is a term from colonial times for cooked green) that they brought the plant back to Europe, where it now grows wild.  Young tender leaves and shoots (be careful not to cut to the root) can be eaten after being boiled in two changes of water. No red-tinted plant parts should be used.  Cooked berries can be made into pies, and they have also been turned into dye and ink.  The raw berries taste terrible to humans, but birds love them, and on warm days, when the Sun turns the berries' sugar to alcohol, they will get drunk on Gaia's own pokeberry wine. Pokeweed's flower essence helps release anger, tension, and encourage the flow of energy.

In Herbalism

Phytolacca engravingPokeweed also has a long history of medicinal use.  It has been taken in tiny amounts by Native Americans and in Eclectic medicine as balancing and for rheumatism, sore breasts, lymphatic problems.  It is said to be effective against breast cancer and to boost T-cells.  It can cause skin irritation like that from poison ivy in some people and should not be handled by pregnant women without gloves, since some of its chemicals are mutagens.  As is typical for Uranus, this plant causes violent vomiting and diarrhea in large doses, and overdose can be fatal. This herb is also known as Red-ink Plant, Crowberry, Cancer-root, Coakum, and Chongras. Top

How to grow pokeweed: This seed germinates slowly over a period of 2 months at room temperature. Sow 2-3 times as much as you need. You can also try soaking the seed in the fridge for 2 weeks. Change cold water for fresh daily - some say distilled works better. It likes rich soil and full sun or partial shade, and is good in open woodland.  It thrives on hot summers. This perennial can grow 10 feet high, and the stems turn a striking red as the plant matures. General growing tips.  Top


Phytolacca americana
25 seeds $4.00

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 Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Magic Ink
Uranus Herb

© 2004, 2018 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission