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American Pokeweed Poke Seeds

  • American Pokeweed Poke Seeds
  • American Pokeweed Poke Seeds
Your Price:
$1.95 (You save $1.05)
0.05 LBS
Usually ships in 24 hours
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Product Description

American Pokeweed

Phytolacca americana

Grown on Ophidian Farms - always organic!

American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is a herbaceous perennial plant in the pokeweed family (Phytolaccaceae) growing up to 8 feet in height and can be quite a striking plant. It is native to the eastern United States and has significant toxicity. Despite this, there do exist proper methods of cooking and eating the young leaves in early spring, as well as medicinal uses for the root when prepared in a tincture (for professionals only). Poke is a traditional southern Appalachian food. The leaves and stems can both be eaten, but must be cooked through multiple changes of water to remove the toxic elements (see poke sallet). The leaves have a taste similar to spinach; the stems taste similar to asparagus. Traditionally, poke is boiled, then fatback is added and cooked some more to add flavor.

In nature, poke seeds take one to two winters to germinate due to their hard seed coating.  Plant them where you want them in Fall, and then forget about it until Spring.  Sometimes it takes a further warm/cold/wet cycle to break dormancy and will come up the following Spring of the second year after planting.

To germinate the seeds faster, the hard-coated, obstinate poke seed must pass through the alimentary canal of a bird or animal to soften and prepare it for germination. In this process the seed is subject to prolonged heat for a bird's normal body temperature may be as high as 106 degrees. At the same time the seeds are at the mercy of the harsh action of powerful digestive juices containing strong acids and the scarifying process of peristalsis. The few seeds that escape complete digestion, then, account for the comparative scarcity of poke plants.

To solve the problem of germinating pokeweed, scientists learned to soak the seed for exactly five minutes in concentrated sulphuric acid (technical grade). 'The seeds are completely submerged in the solution, and at the end of the soaking period they are washed quickly and thoroughly in running water to stop the action and remove all traces of acid. Seed treated in this manner germinates at the rate of 80 to 90 percent in two weeks' time, while untreated seed in a test plot showed only 40 percent germination after six weeks or longer.

Alternatively, this seed can be germinated slowly over a period of 2 months at room temperature. Sow 2-3 times as much as you need due to low germination rates without the digestion process. You can also try soaking the seed in the fridge for 2 weeks. Change cold water for fresh daily - some say distilled works better. It likes rich soil and full sun or partial shade, and is good in open woodland. It thrives on hot summers.

Approximately 120 seeds / gram

Auction is for 1 packet = 1 gram = around 120 seeds

Germination rate = 85 % to 40 % depending on method used. (This seed needs cold stratification)

Harvested fresh in fall of 2017, for sale through 2018!

Any information in this listing is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.


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