Poke or Pokeberry or Pokeweed

(Phytolacca americana L.)
(= P. decandra L.)

Poke or Pokeberry

Additional Images of Pokeweed


Poke is an erect, branched, smooth herb with coarse, succulent, purplish stems; at maturity it is 3 to 10 feet tall. Its leaves, borne on short stalks, are alternately placed and ovate and are without teeth on their margins. Leaves grow up to about 5 inches long. Poke bears small white flowers on short flowerstalks along separate branches at the growing tip of the plant and in the axils of the leaves. Each flower becomes a dark purple berry, flattened and spherical. The berries contain crimson juice and about 10 seeds each.

A perennial, poke comes up year after year from an enormous taproot but it is spread only by seed.

| Distribution | Conditions of poisoning | Control | Toxic principle | Clinical signs |

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Last updated: January 22, 1997
Please direct all comments or requests for information to Greg Youngen.