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Phytolacca americana

This plant has poison characteristics. See below.
Common Name(s):
Poke, Pokeweed
Categories:
Herbs, Native Plants, Perennials, Poisonous Plants, Wildflowers
Comment:

Pokeweed is a native herbaceous perennial in the  Phytolaccaceae family that may grow 6 to 10 feet high. The leaves are bright green, fragrant when crushed and the stems are attractive reddish purple color. The leaves are alternate with a smooth margin. White blooms first mature in early summer and continue into early fall. Can be weedy because it naturalizes in the landscape and self-seeds easily. Dark blue-black, purple berries mature in the late summer to fall and attract birds.  Tolerates rabbits.  

Regions: Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain

Seasons of Interest:

     Bloom: Summer, fall; Fruit/Seed/Nut: Late summer, fall

Wildlife Value: Fruits are eaten by songbirds, small mammals, raccoons, opossums, foxes, and black bears. Songbirds, mourning doves, and small mammals eat the seeds. Polkweed is moderately deer resistant.

Insects, Diseases or Other Plant Problems:  Susceptible to mosaic virus.  No known insect or disease problems.

Season:
Summer into fall
Height:
4-8 ft.
Flower Color:
White
Foliage:
5-12 in. broad, lance-shaped green leaves with reddish stems; tapers at both ends; strong odor when crushed
Flower:
Racemes of small, white flowers; greenish white sepals look like petals July to September; drooping cluster of green fruit ripens to dark purple-black
Zones:
4-8
Habit:
Upright
Site:
Low grounds, recent clearings, roadsides, thickets. Average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers consistently moist soils, but will tolerate short periods of drought.
Propagation:
Self seeds easily, stem cuttings
Fruit:
Berry
Soil:
Moist, dry
Family:
Phytolaccaceae
Origin:
Southeastern US
Poison Part:
All parts of the plant are poisonous.
Edibility:
All parts of the plant are poisonous. Only the young spring leaves and stems can be eaten after two changes of water. Historically it was a popular green served in the south. Some nurseries refuse to sell this plant because of its toxic properties.
Life Cycle:
Perennial
Tags:
showy stems, showy fruits, rabbits, weedy, drought tolerant, fragrant leaves, birds, showy flowers, wildlife, white

NCCES plant id: 2687

Phytolacca americana Leaves and unripe fruit
Tubifex, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Phytolacca americana Ripe fruit
Tubifex, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Phytolacca americana Form
Phytolacca americana White flowers
John Tann, CC BY - 2.0