Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Differences between Pokeweed/Poke berries and Elderberry!

You know I love questions and seanymph has given me one that I want to share with all of you.  She thought she had elderberries on her property, but now she thinks it may be pokeweed or poke berries.  What is the difference?  Well, the Rutgers website talks about the raw fruit of pokeweed can cause stomach aches if eaten.  Cooked or baked fruits are apparently safe.  The large taproot is poisonous and is capable of killing people and livestock

Elderberries are smaller berries than poke berries and it seems that pokeweed berries are held closer on the stem than elderberries.  I just have not had enough elderberries to make anything.  The blog about elderberries has a lot of information as well.  Maybe this year I will get some elderberries to make a sauce, a tart or even jelly.  I just read in Jekka McVicar's book, Herbs for the Home that "elderberries should not be eaten raw, nor fresh juice used.  Be sure to cook very slightly first."  So be careful when you use either pokeweed berries or elderberries.  I think if you click on both of the live links, seanymph you will see differences!  Let me know if you need more answers.

4 comments:

Carla said...

I have pokeweed growing on our property and know it as poke salet. I have often thought about cooking it, but am just too afraid to do it. I have heard that unless you use small tender leaves, it is poisonous as you say. But the good thing is the birds love the berries so I let it grow. New plants emerge in different places in my yard each year; maybe from the birds. Also it is difficult to pull up the plants when they are large; I usually let it die and then pull it. I do not compost these as I don't want them coming up in my vegetables.

lemonverbenalady said...

Thanks for the information, Carla!

seanymph said...

Ok so it looks like pokeberry has a long strand of berries where elder forms just like the flower heads. Since I knew of them but never used them I was afraid to touch any. I knew pokeberry could make you sick. And now Ill have to go wander in my woods here and see just what I have. I do hope they are elderberry :) Thank you.

lemonverbenalady said...

You are very welcome!