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American pokeweed

Botanical Name:

Phytolacca americana

Common Name:

American pokeweed,Pokeweed,Poke,Pokeberry,Great pokeweed,Red ink plant,Pigeonberry,Common Pokeweed,Garnet,Pidgeon Berry,Scoke

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Description

Phytolacca americana, also known as American pokeweed, pokeweed, poke sallet, dragonberries is a poisonous, herbaceous perennial plant in the pokeweed family Phytolaccaceae growing up to 8 ft (2.4m) in height. It has simple leaves on green to red or purplish stems and a large white taproot. The flowers are green to white, followed by purple to almost black berries which are a food source for songbirds such as gray catbird, northern mockingbird, northern cardinal, and brown thrasher, as well as other birds and some small animals (i.e., to species that are unaffected by its mammalian toxins).

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Taxonomy

Order

Caryophyllales

Family

Phytolaccaceae

Genus

Phytolacca

Characteristics

Bloom Time

Fall, Summer, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct

Plant Type

Herb, Native Plant, Perennial, Poisonous, Weed, Wildflower

Lifespan

Perennial

Plant Height

6-12 ft.

Flower

Racemes of small, white flowers in bloom July through September. Produces flowers that may be up to ¾ of an inch wide along 8” racemes. The flower has five petal-like greenish to white sepals.

Fruit

Drooping cluster of green fruit ripens to glossy dark purple-black that attract birds and small mammals. Displays from June to November., Purple

How to Grow

Water

Medium

Sunlight

Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day), Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours), Part Shade

Benefits
Attracts

Bees

Pollinators

Small Mammals

Songbirds

Warning

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. Medicinal: Amerindians used berry tea for rheumatism, arthritis, dysentery; poulticed berries on sore breasts, root poulticed for rheumatism, neuralgic pains, bruises; wash used for sprains, swellings; leaf preparations once used as an expectorant. (Weiner) Emetic and cathartic, poulticed for bleeding, pimples and black heads, juice may cause dermatitis. (Foster & Duke)

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