Phytolacca americana L.
American Pokeweed, Great Pokeweed, Pokeweed, Pokeberry, Red Ink Plant, Pigeonberry
Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed Family)
USDA Symbol: PHAM4
A tall, large-leaved, branching plant with reddish stems and long clusters of small, white flowers.
This is frequently a troublesome weed. Because all parts of the plant are poisonous, its potential ethnobotanical uses are not treated here.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall, often much shorter.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
Bloom Notes: Flowers summer-fall in northern part of range, may flower year-round in southern part of range.
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , ON , QC
Native Distribution: Ontario to southern Quebec, New England, and New York; south to Florida; west to Texas and Mexico; north to Minnesota.
Native Habitat: Open woods, damp thickets, clearings, roadsides.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Conditions Comments: Pokeweed has a perennial root stock, and also reseeds. It proliferates in disturbed areas.
BenefitWarning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts, mainly the roots; shoots, leaves, and berries when fresh and in quantity. Highly toxic, may be fatal if eaten. Toxic Principle: Phytolaccatoxin and related triterpene saponins, an alkaloid (phytolaccin), and histamines.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: High
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Mr. Smarty Plants says
September 24, 2008
I have a single stem red vine with purple berries growing on it. It is in a cluster of bushes and gets mostly morning and early afternoon sun. The berries also have small bumps at the stem. I have ...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
BibliographyBibref 1207 - Earth Medicine, Earth Food (1990) Michael A. Weiner
Bibref 417 - Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America (2000) Foster, S. & J. A. Duke
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1992 VOL. 9, NO.6 - Architectural Plans for new Facility Taking Shape, Native Plants Provide Local C...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Phytolacca americana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Phytolacca americana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Phytolacca americana
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-20
Research By: NPC