Pokeweed: Bad for you, great for deer

Every hunter in the Carolinas has come across pokeweed from time to time. Pokeweed thrives in many landscapes across the region, with its bright, purple berries, purple stems and luscious green foliage. Pokeweed is not a food fit for humans; it is fatally toxic. But it is a delicacy for deer, because they show significant immunity to the toxins. Deer and can take advantage of the carbohydrate-rich berries and the high-protein foliage — 30 percent protein.

Pokeweed is a very common, perennial plant found throughout the Carolinas. It thrives in disturbed areas where disking and burning techniques are frequent. During the summer, pokeweed grows rapidly, providing deer with abundant nutrition. When pokeweed shows up along power-line right-of-ways, edges of food plots or anywhere else, let it grow. It may even be a good place to hang a stand for early deer season.

Remember this; don’t collect any berries for a cobbler, because it might just be the last thing you ever eat.

About Jeff Burleson 1311 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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