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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.  No know insect or disease problems.

Regions: Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain

 

Seasons of Interest:

     Bloom: Summer, fall; Fruit/Seed/Nut: 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.

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