Living in a wooded area, I often run across plants that catch my eye. This plant is one that I’ve seen along roadsides, with its shiny black and purple berries and bright magenta stems both catching my eye. A google search informs me that this plant is known as pokeweed. Happily, the plant has not poked me in the eye while catching my eye.
Happily also, I have never been tempted to try the berries, as they (along with the rest of the plant) are “highly toxic to humans.”
Clearly, as evidenced by this berry-less stem, something likes to eat the berries. It seems that several types of birds and non-human mammals can eat them. And, a bit more poking on the web (as well as some info that my daughter learned in a summer camp class) informs me that pokeweed can also (in spite of being poisonous) be eaten by human mammals: “Pokeweed is one of the signature edible native plants of America, with a strong role in Native-American, African-American and Southern cultures and cuisines.” (Read more about pokeweed, aka inkberries, aka poke salad on this post.)
Now that it’s December, the pokeweed around here is dried up and shriveled. (But I still found the leaves and black berry stems to be interesting to look at.)