Posted: 23/08/2016 at 10:29
Bit hard to tell, but the flower spike looks remarkably like Pokeweed aka Phytolacca americana
If it is( and don't take my word for it then the following from an American acquaintance may be useful.
Don`t worry,, none of the plant is toxic except the roots, that is an old wives tale that persists to this day. I have poke weed growing everywhere here. The leaves in early spring are eaten like spinach and taste similar. When young the stems can be peeled and steamed like asparagus or sliced and fried like okra. The plant does have oxalic acid but so does spinach, beet greens, cabbage, chocolate, black tea and almost all dark leafy greens. The berries are food for wild birds, and my dog loves them. We used the dark purple juice for ink when I was a kid. If the plant was toxic there would be no one left in the south because it is a spring staple. People drive the back roads here searching for poke weed. At this time of year it is too strong and tough to eat but next March or April it will be coming up again. You can also prune the plant back late spring and eat the new growth. All that is required is to wash and boil the leaves for 10 to 15 minutes then pour into a colander and let drain. When reasonably dry sauté in oil about ten minutes and add salt to taste. We like to add one or two eggs and scramble those with the greens till done. Serve with hot buttered cornbread and a dash of pepper sauce. Poke weed also has anti cancer properties and about the same vitamin content as spinach.
Last edited: 23 August 2016 10:30:40