Project Noah

Project Noah is a tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere.

Join Project Noah Today

Pokeweed

Phytolacca americana

Description:

Pokeweeds are herbs growing from 1 to 10 ft tall, although specimens as tall as 14 ft have been observed. They have single alternate leaves, pointed at the end, with crinkled edges. The stems are often pink or red. The flowers are greenish-white, in long clusters at the ends of the stems. They develop into dark purple berries. Some pokeweeds are also grown as ornamental plants, mainly for their attractive berries; a number of cultivars have been selected for larger fruit panicles.

Habitat:

Pokeweed grows in rich, moist soil in part sun in distributed soil. It's common around homes.

Notes:

Pokeweed contains phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin, which are poisonous to mammals. However, the berries are eaten by birds, which are not affected by the toxin because the small seeds with very hard outer shells remain intact in the digestive system and are eliminated whole. Ingestion of poisonous parts of the plant may cause severe stomach cramping, nausea with persistent diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes bloody, slow and difficult breathing, weakness, spasms, hypertension, severe convulsions, and death. However, consuming fewer than 10 uncooked berries is generally harmless to adults. Pokeweeds are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Giant Leopard Moth.

No species ID suggestions

2 Comments

keithp2012
keithp2012 6 years ago

Pokeweed

keithp2012
keithp2012 6 years ago

Common Elderberry

West Babylon, New York, USA

Lat: 40.70, Long: -73.35

Spotted on Sep 9, 2010
Submitted on Sep 9, 2010

Related spottings

Pokeweed American Pokeweed Pokeweed American Pokeweed

Nearby spottings

Micro Tom Tomato Cherry Tomato 'Sun Drop' Winter Crocus Yellow-green tomato