En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 20, 2008

From: Oakwood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Mosaic virus in Poke Salad in East Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in a rural East Texas, and have an abundance of Poke Salad. If you know how to prepare it, it's a springtime treat for anyone who enjoys veggies. However, for the last few years, many of the older plants are showing symptoms of a mosaic-like condition. Leaves are mottled with pale areas and are crenated. The plants may not be quite as vigorous as unaffected ones, but still grow and reproduce. My questions are: Are affected plants likely to transmit this condition to any other species? I haven't seen any evidence of this, but as an avid vegetable gardener, I'd like to know. Also, is there any reason to avoid these plants when gathering a springtime "mess" of greens?

ANSWER:

Gee, we hate to rain on your parade, but when we started research on your question, the first thing we found was an Alabama Cooperative Extension website, Don't Eat Poke Salad. Then we went to our Native Plant Database page on Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed) and there are actually recommendations for cooking, although it also warns about the poisonous nature of the whole plant. Frankly, even though this is a part of American culture, we don't think we'd want to touch it no matter how well it was cooked. Pokeweed is an alternative host for several plant viruses that feeding insects can transmit to other plants nearby. Since it is toxic both to humans and animals, it is considered a weed pest by many. We really can't recommend eating this plant at all, and would recommend that it be removed from the area of other greens that you may be using for food.


Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

 

 

More Poisonous Plants Questions

Plant ID from Villa Hills KY
April 21, 2013 - Hello I have this plant but I don't know what it is. I want to know if it's edible or what it is. I think it's catnip.
view the full question and answer

Non-poisonous Hedge for Southern California
November 27, 2010 - What is a non-poisonous (to dogs), fast-growing, evergreen plant that I can grow as a tall screening hedge for privacy? I find differing opinions on Carolina Cherry and Podocarpus gracilior. Thank you...
view the full question and answer

Are variegated ginger plants poisonous to cats?
June 16, 2009 - Is a variegated ginger plant poisonous to cats?
view the full question and answer

Different colors of Argemone spp. from McAllen TX
March 16, 2014 - I took pictures of at least 5 colors of pricklepoppy today. Is this common to have so many colors in one area? How do I harvest the seedpods and when is the best time to do so?
view the full question and answer

Digestive distress from eating Lonicera sempervirens
February 23, 2006 - A friend of mine ate Lonicera sempervirens and it caused a burning sensation in his stomach. What may have caused this sensation?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center