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

Butterfly Garden, non-poisonous to Dogs, in Taylor MI
March 27, 2014 - I have a small fenced yard with a patio that my dogs have free access to. I would like to create a butterfly garden and add other plants that are non toxic to my dachshunds. Any suggestions. I am f...
view the full question and answer

Plant with poisonous thorns
July 27, 2008 - Is there a bush or tree out there that has thorns on it that can make you swell and cause you to feel like you can hardly move you're whole hand.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification for shrub in Florida
September 03, 2011 - On our street we have ornamental shrub planted in the median that has small waxy green leaves, produces small fragrant white flowers, and red berries with white pulp and small seeds on the inside. Th...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of seeds of Texas Mountain Laurel for dog
April 07, 2007 - I have a Tx Mountain Laurel that is in 1 end of a dog pen. I just heard the seeds are poisonous. Is this true & should we pull the seeds off so the dog can't reach them to eat? Thanks for your assist...
view the full question and answer

Poison Ivy in Semi-wetland Massachusetts
June 27, 2013 - You answered this question for Tennessee, but I would like an answer for a Massachusetts semi-wetlands area: What can I plant to discourage poison ivy, or at least make it very clear that it is poison...
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