Pokeweed, leave it or weed it?

American Pokeweed

The berries of American Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana, are poisonous. And oh-so tempting to you humans, especially when they are in full ripeness –and at their most toxic!–this time of year.

Pokeweed in late summer

The plant is big and weedy and produces many berries. No wonder it can take over a farmer’s field!

Yet there are birds who will eat them with no harmful effects, like the Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Gray catbird and Brown Thrasher.

 

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

Nutmeg advised you human readers to leave your flower seedbeds for the birds, but here’s a plant you should clean up.

mystery #164

Know what it is and why?

Make your guesses and I’ll return later with the answers.

~~~

Hmm, here’s a vine you humans ought to become more familiar with–because it’s terribly invasive! You’ll want to get rid of Mile-a-Minute Weed the second you see it.

Mile-a-Minute Weed

The triangular leaves and barbed stems are a great way to identify it, even if you don’t notice that the vine is growing 6 inches a day. Yes, it can take over quickly, and we squirrels beg you to keep this from happening! We like our native foods better, though some deer, chipmunks, mice and birds will eat them. Of course, that’s another way the Mile-a-Minute Weed is spreading.

Did you notice some of the leaves have holes in them? That’s because some great humans have released a weevil that eats Mile-a-Minute Weed leaves, then lays its eggs in the stems. The larvae eat the plant from the inside. Read more about Mile-a-Minute Weed and this weevil on this New York Invasive Species Information bulletin.

One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

It’s fall, and plants are doing what they do…

mystery #163

And idea what this is from?

Post your guesses in the comments and I’ll check back later!

~~~

These are the seedpods of a common wildflower that grows throughout North America. After we did some research, we squirrels can guess why you humans might avoid this rather invasive plant–its scientific name, Apocynum, means ‘Away dog’! Indian Hemp or Dogbane, Apocynum cannabinum, is poisonous to dogs and livestock if ingested. We squirrels are staying away from it and suggest you humans  do the same.

indian hemp, dogbane

The leaves are opposite and simple little lobes, the flowers are whitish-green (not the purple flowers in the background!) and attract butterflies in late summer. We thought we might have photos of the tiny blossoms, but we don’t so perhaps you’d like to see them on this Primitive Ways website, which also shows how you can gather the stalks and make cord from them.