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ID
  
 
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Pokeberry
Phytolaccaceae
Phytolacca americana


Thunder
Thunder
Flower Petal # 5
Main Color    
Color 2    
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb




Phytolaccaceae Family

Phytolacca Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Pokeweed, Poke, Inkberry, Pigeonberry, American nightshade, cancer jalap, coakum, garget, pocan bush, poke root, redweed, scoke, red ink plant and chui xu shang lu


Location

Origin & Range: Native of northeastern North America. In recent years the plant appears to have increased in populated places. Found in most of the United States except the Mountain States, Alaska and Hawaii

Physical Description
A large, smooth, branching herb from a large, perennial rootstock, and with green, red, or purple stems; leaves alternate and simple; flowers white, on a long stem, more or less erect; fruit a dark purple berry composed of 5-12 segments fused in a ring, the stem drooping. P. rigida differs by having shorter, erect fruiting stems


Compare Species
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Phytolaccaceae
Caryophyllales
Caryophyllales
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Native Americans introduced the first colonists to pokeweed, and they in turn delivered it back to Europe where it became a popular vegetable. In addition to eating the young shoots and leaves, Native Americans and early American settlers made a crimson dye from the berry juice. Native Americans from through-out its range used pokeweed concoctions for a wide variety of internal and external medicinal applications.
Historically used for syphilis, diphtheria, conjunctivitis, cancer, adenitis and emesis or as a purgative. Used topically for scabies. Heroic and toxic class herb which requires professional training
The fresh and very young spring-time greens of the pokeberry were boiled, drained, and boiled again to make "poke salad" the traditional rural dish in the southern U.S. immortalized in the 1960's hit song "Poke Salad Annie".
Only collect young shoots from areas you know have NOT been treated with pesticides. Collect in early spring.
White flowers are followed by purple to almost black berries, which are a good food source for songbirds such as Northern Cardinal, Brown Thrasher, and Northern Mockingbird.
The berries of the Indian pokeberry have been used for dye production and ink. Poke berries make a beautiful purple dye, however it is short lived and is washed out easily. Will last little more than a month away from sunlight on baskets
Very Poisonous could be fatal due to Phytolaccigine, phytolaccic acid. Phytolaccatoxin and related triterpene saponins, an alkaloid (phytolaccin), and histamines found in the roots and seeds.The symptoms include Gastrointestinal irritation (colic, diarrhea which may be bloody). Rarely: anemia, possibly death. Birth defects and tumors may also be possible



Pokeberry
Ripe Berries & Leaves



Pokeberry
Plant



Pokeberry
New berries forming



Pokeberry
Ripe Purple-Black Berries

Comment: Pokeberry, Phytolacca americana

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