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Jun 16, 2010 04:27 AM

Is this a plant or... a weed?

I planted some bulbs a while back in the same area this plant is now thriving. It kind of looks like a weed to me...but I can't be sure. There are 2 of them with no blooms and they're growing rapidly.

Does anyone recognize this plant...weed? I would hate to mistakenly pull up a flower.

Also can someone identify this plant?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. The second is pokeberry, a weed and poisonous to boot for humans, when eaten, but ok for birds. The stalk protruding from the top will develop into dark purple berries, used for ink and yarn dye in days gone by. You can either pull it up or leave the berries for the birds.

    Now, the first plant I'm not sure of, it looks like epazote, commonly known as skunkweed, but I'm not positive. Does it have an aroma, a little like petroleum or gasoline? If it is epazote, it's a weed but considered to be an culinary herb in certain countries; it's very edible, especially fresh, used frequently in Mexican cuisine, mostly in bean dishes, and is an anti-flatulant. Grows wild in your neck of the woods, and even in Central Park:

    I'm betting other posters will weigh in with their thoughts to help you out.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      In the South (at least Tenn/Ark) people do in fact eat young pokeberry leaves boiled twice - it's called poke salat. Legend is that it's good for health. We had a lot of it on our large and somewhat wild property, and a neighbor regularly came and foraged huge amounts with our blessing, then passed out the dish to friends. I've never prepared it myself but here's some info on how to:

      1. re: fesenjan

        There's a thread right now on the Home Cooking Board about pokeweed, with some big precautions for first time pickers, the leaves have to be very young, cook it twice, don't eat the mature leaves, berries, taproot, etc. Not sure If I would do it, since it's not considered an edible green in the Northeast, and is not consumed in this part of the country, although it grows all over the place; I have it growing in my backyard in Brooklyn. I see in your link that it's thought to be good for arthrtis, which I have, but the leaves on my plants are quite mature now. It looks from the OP's photo that her leaves are, also. I think I'll wait til next year.;-)

    2. Thank you all! I'm going to pull up both! Boy am I glad I found this forum!!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: njfarmgirl

        nj, now that you've discovered the plant, here's a great recipe for a pokeweed saute with goat cheese and pecans:

        if you're into foraging and want some guidance on how best to prepare wild foods, you should look up sunny savage (the above is one of her recipes). she has a food-foraging show called Hot On The Trail and she's being featured at right now if you want to check her out!

      2. first one is NOT epazote, which is branched and semi-woody. Leaves are slightly scalloped-edged, dark green above and lighter on the reverse. Bears flowers and seeds at many branch tips.

        The first photo above is an annual which issues one main stem from a basal rosette of leaves; usually will have only one bloom stem (unless broken, then it might split into more) much like a foxglove grows. Sorry but I can't ID it. Never seen it on the central west coast.