Ok, so this plant has very limited uses for humans, but it has a few. I discovered this beautiful pokeweed plant growing in the corner of the pasture where it was apparently able to dodge the tractor mowing!
Pokeweed ( Phytolacca americana) plants at this stage are poisonous. Birds enjoy the berries, but humans should not eat them. It is also known as pokebush, pokeberry, poke, pokeroot, polk salad, polk sallet, inkberry, pigeon berry, cancer root, red ink plant, shang-lu (Chinese), congora (Spanish), coakum, scoke, red weed.
On one site they said many Civil War letters sent home were written with pokeweed berry ink! The Native Americans used it as a dye for feathers. I wonder how it would work on wool.
Culinary uses from wildforager.survivalistssite.com : “A salad is made of the young leaves (less than 8 inches long) which must be cooked in two changes of salted water before serving so as to leach out any toxic components (10 minutes the first time, 5 minutes the next). You may have heard the term poke salet. Do not eat the mature leaves because they can be emetic. The Portuguese have used the berries to color wine. Cooked berries have been made into pies. Never eat raw berries.” Other sources state it is the seeds of the berries that are toxic, not the berries.
It apparently is toxic to livestock, but my guys just ignore it. According to Wikipedia it is a treat for Cardinals, Catbirds, Mockingbirds and Brown Thrashers.