Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global citizen science platform
to discover, share and identify wildlife

Join Project Noah!

American Pokeweed

Phytolacca americana


These things are everywhere at my house. My mother uses the berries to make a beautiful dye for fabric.


American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is a large semi-succulent herbaceous perennial plant growing up to 10 feet (3 meters) in height. It is native to eastern North America, the Midwest, and the Gulf Coast, with more scattered populations in the far West. It is also known as Virginia poke,[1][2] American nightshade, cancer jalap, coakum, garget,[2] inkberry, pigeon berry,[1][2] pocan,[2] pokeroot,[1] pokeweed,[1] pokeberry,[1] redweed, scoke,[2] red ink plant and chui xu shang lu (in Chinese medicine).[1] Parts of this plant are highly toxic to livestock and humans, and it is considered a major pest by farmers. Nonetheless, some parts can be used as food, medicine or poison. The plant has a large white taproot, green or red stems, and large, simple leaves. White flowers are followed by purple to almost black berries, which are a good food source for songbirds such as Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, Brown Thrasher, and Northern Mockingbird.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID

No Comments

Spotted by

South Carolina, USA

Spotted on Sep 24, 2011
Submitted on Nov 3, 2012

Related Spottings

Pokeweed American Pokeweed Pokeweed American Pokeweed

Nearby Spottings

Spotting Wheel Bug Eastern Cottontail Black Locust Tree