Respect for Mama Poke


I first began learning about wild plants, foraging and plant medicine while living in Madrid. That means that most every single plant that we learned about was native to Europe, and many were specific to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Case in point are the 26 (!) varieties of thyme indigenous to the region.

When I moved back to Louisiana, I began to see that a lot of the “weeds” around are European imports and they felt familiar. But I also saw many plants that I had no idea where to even begin in an effort to identify, much less understand them. These native plants were not ones that I learned about, and so the process of education has been slow and sometimes tedious but always exciting.

Pokeweed ( phytolacca americana) is one such example. The little town of Blanchard, Louisiana happens to host the Poke Salad Festival every…

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