Field of Science

Weed with an attitude

Honey, would you be a dear and remove a couple of weeds from my perennial garden? Sure. What a epic struggle! The weeds in question were pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), and they were 6 feet tall with roots all the way to southern hemisphere. The tap roots were actually larger in diameter than my forearm, and the bloody shame of it is that there's nothing good you can do with such a nastily toxic plant. Why a fellow can work up quite a thirst pulling poke. And how do they get so big so fast? Looks like we neglected the garden for years, but not at all. Our might weed wrench doesn't work on them either because the herbaceous stems, as big as they are, are too soft for the jaws of death.
Innovation: Saw a fellow pulling up big old tent stakes with a nifty device and pulled them using a small motor driven puller. So what about hooking up weed wrench type jaws to such a motorized puller? Any handy inventor types out there to whip up a prototype?


Diane said...

My mother-in-law (Missouri native, Colorado resident) once discovered our vigorous (Rhode Island) poke plantation and cooked some up for us. Take young plants, cook the leaves in three changes of water and serve with butter. We ate them nervously and suffered no ill effects. They were palatable but not fabulous. I also used the berries to make ink with a colonial history youth group. It wasn't very stable. So I weed it "without prejudice".

The Phytophactor said...

Anything you have to cook like that probably shouldn't be eaten, but never tried the berries as an ink or a dye.