- Common Name(s):
- Poke, Pokeweed
- Herbs, Native Plants, Perennials, Poisonous Plants, Wildflowers
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.
- Summer into fall
- 4-8 ft.
- Flower Color:
- 5-12 in. broad, lance-shaped green leaves with reddish stems; tapers at both ends; strong odor when crushed
- Racemes of small, white flowers; greenish white sepals look like petals July to September; drooping cluster of green fruit ripens to dark purple-black
- 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.
- Self seeds easily, stem cuttings
- Moist, dry
- Southeastern US
- Poison Part:
- All parts of the plant are poisonous.
- 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:
NCCES plant id: 2687