Oriskany, NY (WIBX) - Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County is warning the public about poke weed plants that are being sold nationally.

Sometimes called, "sunny side up" or "poke salad," the pokeberry plant is beautiful but potentially deadly.

All parts of the plant are toxic to human beings, animals, and livestock. Animals usually do not eat them simply because they do not taste good, but children have been known to be enticed by the luscious purple fruit that the plants bear in the fall.

And, although boiled young shoots are eaten as greens and the berries are sometimes cooked in pie, Cornell says that ingestion of any part of the plant is not recommended, as fatal poisoning, and cancer-causing mutations, have occured in people.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County Master Gardener Volunteers maintain the Horticulture Hotline Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00am to 12:00noon at (315) 736.3394. More information can also be found at: http://counties.cce.cornell.edu/oneida/.

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