- 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. 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.
- 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