The creek’s first pokeweed seedlings popped up in spring.

By July, their leafy crimson stems sprawled widely over the hillside, blooming white-sepaled clusters of tiny flowers.

These flowers soon produced some tough green fruit ripening through August into juicy purple berries.

The berries have since been crowding heavily on September’s and October’s ruddy stalks.

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Pokeweed is toxic to most animals, including humans, and especially children.  Severe, even fatal, poisoning is possible through ingestion.

Still, Native Americans in the area are said to have found several uses for the plant. One was the fashioning of a red dye from its berries.

Likewise, since colonial times, pokeweed has made a convenient ink for writing.

These uses have inspired another common name: inkberry.

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Native to the eastern states, pokeweed is plentiful in the region.

So making a small jar of Little Crum Creek’s American Pokeweed Ink is as simple as pressing and straining a bowlful of berries.

With a simple dip of the pen, we can soon be writing with the creekside.

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Salt & vinegar might help preserve the ink & hold the color. But neither are necessary. Careful around pets & children–the ink is still toxic.

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