I'm not a Southerner by any stretch of the imagination, but I recently added pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) to my foraging repertoire. It's toxic, though tasty, and it comes up in the early spring, right around the time that my beloved stinging nettles are poking (heh) out of the ground. It was with some surprise that I recently found a post about pokeweed from the Saveur website.
It's a good article, but the idea of pokeweed making it to farmers' markets isn't plausible to me... after all, the stuff is toxic (though so are the ubiquitous kidney beans we eat worldwide). They are delicious, when boiled thrice, then cooked with oil or bacon drippings or what-have-you, but they do, as food historian and chef Michael Twitty noted in the article: “It will clean you out from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.” I don't know if it's because the body is trying to unload the stuff, but it gives Plantago a run (heh) for the money. For the record, I also eat Plantago, but it's not very high on my list.
This post also gives me an excuse, as if one were needed, to tout Michael Twitty's work- the man is a national treasure from a historical, sociological, and culinary standpoint:
My first exposure to the man was through his collaboration with the good folks at Townsends, with his period re-enactor cooking demonstrations being a good introduction to his oeuvre:
Akara are delicious, they'd go really well with a side of poke sallet.