Phytolacca americana

Photo Courtesy of K. Hubeny

Common Name(s) Pokeweed
Scientific Name Phytolacca americana
Family Phytolaccaceae
Location/Vegetative Zone Thicket (Bike Path)
Flowering Period
Identifying Characteristics Grows up to 12 feet in height



  • Leaves are alternate with coarse texture and moderate sized pores.
  • Flowers are borne in elongated clusters, perfect and regular with four to five sepals that are white or green, no petals.

Medicinal/Edible Uses

  • Berries
    • Safe for making pies ONLY when cooked
      • Still not recommended!
    • Tea made by Native Americans for rheumatism, arthritis, dysentery
    • Native Americans poulticed berries on sore breasts
    • Used by colonists to improve cheap wine
  • Roots
    • Poulticed for rheumatism, neuralgic pains, bruises

Cultural Uses

  • Early colonists made dye from the berries

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