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American pokeweed
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A species of Pokeweeds, Also known as Pokeweed, Poke sallet, Poke salad, Inkberry, Dragonberries
Botanical name : Phytolacca americana Genus : Pokeweeds

American pokeweed, A species of Pokeweeds
Also known as:
Pokeweed, Poke sallet, Poke salad, Inkberry, Dragonberries
Botanical name: Phytolacca americana
Genus: Pokeweeds
Add to My Garden
American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Description

Although its berries look juicy and tempting, the fruits and the root of american pokeweed are toxic and should not be eaten. American pokeweed is considered a pest species by farmers but is nevertheless often grown as an ornamental plant. Its berries can be made into pokeberry ink as well.
Plant Type
Herb
Bloom Time
Summer, autumn
Flower Color
White
Green
Pink
Leaf Color
Green
Purple
Yellow
* Disclaimer: Content feedback CAN NOT be used as any basis for EATING ANY PLANTS. Some plants can be VERY POISONOUS, please purchase edible plants through regular channels.

General Info

Name story

American pokeweed
The plant carries the word "poke" in its name because poke originates from the word "pakon" or "puccoon", meaning "dye plant" in the Algonquian Indian language. this refers to a type of natural dye collected from the plant. However, as it originates from the United States, its common name is american pokeweed. Phytolacca americana berries actually look like a cluster of purplish black grapes. Although the berries are poisonous, the red dye extracted from the berries is very beautiful.
Inkbush
In early autumn, the plant bears clusters of enticing grape-like berries that are small and round. When the berries mature, they create a flamboyant, juicy, purplish-black layer. As people tend to use its berries to create dye, it is thus called the Inkbush.
Pigeon berry
Although its berries look as delicious as grapes, they are poisonous to humans, cattle and sheep. Many animals suffer from dyskinesia or even death after eating them. Only birds (such as pigeons) can consume it to curb starvation without the worry of the poison at all. Hence, it is also named Pigeon berry.

Symbolism

Freedom, extreme cleansing, purging, banishing

Usages

Environmental Protection Value
A food source for a wide range of wildlife.
Garden Use
American pokeweed is a tall, herbaceous shrub with bright red stems and deep purple berries. It grows in disturbed areas and can be problematic because of its weedy growth habit and toxicity. If one chooses to use this plant ornamentally, it can be used as a border plant.

Is it safe to touch american pokeweed?

Ingestion of any part of american pokeweed, including the stem, roots, berries, and leaves, causes toxic reactions in humans. Eating any part of this plant can be fatal, or cause birth defects and cancer due to genetic mutations. More immediate symptoms of american pokeweed poisoning include gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, stomach cramps, and a burning sensation in the mouth. If larger quantities are consumed, severe symptoms such as anemia, convulsions, and respiratory failure can occur. Children are most likely to accidentally ingest it because of the attractive clusters of berries, and it grows wild in many different environments..

Toxicity

All parts of the american pokeweed are toxic, especially the roots and seeds. Its toxic component is triterpenoid saponin, and its ripeness is likely to attract people to eat it by mistake, especially children. Children are often poisoned by eating fruits. There are also some people who use leaves to make salads, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and severe bowel disease when eaten by children. A small amount of american pokeweed not harmful to adults, but a large amount of american pokeweed leaves will cause vomiting, stomach cramps, sweating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, salivation, unconsciousness and even death.
Touching its juice may cause dermatitis and splashing into the eyes may cause blepharitis. American pokeweed was once grown in Europe, where people use fruit extracts to color red wine and sweets. Today it is no longer used as a stain.
American pokeweed leaves can be eaten in small quantities after cooking, but they are not absolutely safe. If discomfort occurs after ingestion, consult a doctor promptly.

Toxicity in Animals

American pokeweed is also harmful to mammals and some other animals, but some birds are immune to it. This plant is not suitable for animals. Horses, sheep and cattle are poisoned by eating american pokeweed . Keep animals away from this plant. If ingested, contact your veterinarian immediately or take them to a pet hospital.

How to Control it

The best time to remove weeds is before their flowering and fructification, otherwise controlling them can be very difficult. After they have flowered and fructified, their seeds can spread very fast, and hence, the weeds should be removed more often and precautions should be taken in advance in the following year.
  1. Mulching: During the seed stage, covering the soil with sawdust, straw or black mulches can effectively inhibit seed germination and the growth of seedlings. In the winter or spring, this method is often used to inhibit the seeds in the soil from germinating. If the weeds have already flowered and fructified, then the method can also be used to prevent more seeds from falling into the soil.
  2. Pulling out: Wear gloves or use tools to remove weeds before their fructification. If the soil is too dry, then water the soil thoroughly to make it softer, which can help to remove the root systems of the weeds. After that, deep tillage can be adopted to remove bits of weed roots left in the ground. This method works particularly well for weeds that are low-growing or in their seedling stages. Take care when removing it, as it is allergenic.
  3. Mowing: Mowing weeds before their fructification can effectively control their spread. Especially for annual weeds, frequent mowing can inhibit their growth and fructification, and thus can remove them effectively within the year.
  4. Ploughing: Be sure to plough and pull out all roots of perennial weeds before planting. The roots should be discarded, exposed to the sun for a long time, or buried deep. You can also use the roots to make organic fertilizer and compost the weeds.
  5. It can be removed effectively with herbicide. Note: When removing weeds, especially those which are toxic, thorny and have allergenic sap, be sure to wear gloves and avoid direct contact with them. When removing weeds during their bloom time, be sure to wear special masks to prevent pollen allergy.

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American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
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