Phytolacca americana, American pokeweed, pokeweed, poke sallet, dragonberries is a poisonous, herbaceous perennial plant in the pokeweed family Phytolaccaceae growing up to 8 ft in height. It has simple leaves on green to red or purplish stems.
Phytolacca americana, commonly known as pokeweed, common poke or scoke, is a vigorous, herbaceous perennial that typically grows to 4-10’ tall with a spread to 3-5’ wide. This plant features (a) showy reddish-purple stems, (b) large, alternate, lanceolate green leaves which exude an unpleasant (some say fetid) aroma when bruised, (c) apetalous, bisexual, summer flowers (to 3/4” wide) which bloom July to September in slender racemes to 8” long, each flower composed of five showy petal-like greenish-white sepals, 10 stamens and a pistil composed of united carpels, (d) grape-like fruits (each to 1/ 4” across) which emerge green but mature to a deep reddish-purple, and (e) very large taproots which will grow to 12” long and 4” thick. Pokeweed is native to clearings, fields, pastures, open woods, thickets and roadsides. Notwithstanding its somewhat attractive ornamental features, pokeweed is generally considered to be an invasive weed in many areas.