pokeweed

COMMON NAME: Pokeweed
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Phytolacca americana
FAMILY: Phytolaccaceae
LIFECYCLE: Perennial
FEATURES: Tall growing perennial weed, often reaching 2 meters (~6 feet) tall. Plant a tree like plant at
maturity. Entire plant primarily glabrous. Stem green when young turning deep purple at maturity
(late summer, early fall). Leaves solitary, alternate, elliptic to oval in shape with a distinct leaf tip.
Inflorescence (10 to 15 cm long)is a sparse cluster of 15 to 30 flowers. Flowers with white to green
petals, 1 to 1.5 cm in diameter. Fruit a sparse cluster of purple berries, 1 to 2 cm in diameter.
DESCRIPTION: Highly toxic plant at maturity; however, leaves can be harvested in the spring and eaten as greens
similar to spinach. At maturity the plant is a deep purple color throughout with all plant parts being
toxic. Very common weed around barns, fence rows, and infrequently mowed areas with frequent animal
and human disturbance. Plant grows from a thickened rhizome making the plant difficult to control.

Broad View Mature plant

Broad View
Mature plant

Flower / Seed Head Inflorescence

Flower / Seed Head
Inflorescence

Additional Purple fruit

Additional
Purple fruit

Additional Purple stem

Additional
Purple stem

Leaf Individual solitary leaf

Leaf
Individual solitary leaf