Pokeweed

March 11, 2018

 

Pokeweed is a beautiful plant with large dark purple berries and reddish or purple stems.  Even so it is an invasive plant.

 

Pokeweed is native to the southeastern United States.  It is showing up in PNW nurseries so it is necessary to be careful when browsing for new plants.  It starts off as a smallish plant but quickly grows into a large bush in one season. 

 

Birds often eat the berries and carry the seeds to new locations, including natural areas. Left unmanaged, pokeweed can form dense patches and overwhelm native plants and trees. This damages our natural areas which contribute to our clean water, wildlife habitat, recreation and other benefits.

 

Although birds seem to be immune to the berries, every part of the pokeweed plant is toxic to people. Some people eat parts of the plant (poke salad is an example). But preparation is tricky and ingesting improperly prepared pokeweed can cause severe nausea, or even death.

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