Phytolacca americana, P. rigida
This plant has poison characteristics. See below.
- Common Name(s):
- Pokeweed, pokeberry, poke, inkberry, pigeonberry
- Poisonous Plants
- A large, smooth, branching herb from a large, perennial rootstock, and with green, red, or purple stems; leaves alternate and simple; flowers white, on a long stem, more or less erect; fruit a dark purple berry composed of 5-12 segments fused in a ring, the stem drooping; differs by having shorter, erect fruiting stems
- USA, NC
- Throughout, P. rigida is found only along the coast
- Poison Part:
- All parts, mainly the roots; shoots, leaves, and berries when fresh and in quantity
- Poison Delivery Mode:
- Burning of mouth and throat, salivation, severe stomach irritation, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, spasms, convulsions; can be fatal
- EDIBLE PARTS: Young tender leaves eaten only as thoroughly cooked greens (in two waters). Cooked berries are safe for making pies. CAUTION: Berries, roots and mature plants are poisonous, therefore, only use as new, young growth. Also any red-tinged plant material should be discarded. To avoid possibly collecting part of the toxic root, do not cut below ground level. HARVEST: Only collect young shoots from areas you know have NOT been treated with pesticides. Collect in early spring. SAFE HANDLING PROCEDURES: Wash young shoots thoroughly with warm water. Do not use dish detergent or any type of sanitizer. These products can leave a residue. Peel and parboil tender young shoots (less than eight inches) in two changes of water several minutes each. Boil in a third water until tender and serve like asparagus. Young stalks less than one foot tall, with leaves removed, and before red tinged, can be cut and rolled in corn meal and fried like okra. They can also be pickled. Young leaves taken from stalks less than one foot tall can be parboiled in two changes of water for several minutes each and boiled in a third water until tender. To freeze, parboil leaves twice, cook, pat dry and place them in plastic bags.
- Toxic Principle:
- Phytolaccatoxin and related triterpene saponins, an alkaloid (phytolaccin), and histamines
- HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN!
- Found in:
- Forest or natural areas, weedy in disturbed areas, in fields, fence rows, low grounds, clearings, waste places, roadsides
NCCES plant id: 1122