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Talkback: A poke in the eye

It's only the *very young* leaves and *very young* shoots that are eaten. It is my understanding that older leaves and shoots are definitely toxic. Pat Meadows - who lives and gardens in the USA, but not in the South.


  • They sound wonderful. Anything this dangerous has to go in my garden. Where can I get one?
  • I first saw Pokeweed in Ford Abbey Gardens, Somerset & then again at Spetchley Park (nr Worcester) where I bought some seeds which I have yet to sow! The berries are definitely very striking & I look forward to growing it.
  • The plants should be relatively easy to find - check the RHS Plantfinder for a nearby nursery - there are about thirty listed in my copy. There are lots of other dangerous plants: I will return to the subject in the not too distant future...
  • Thank you for sorting out my questions about this plant! My husband and I had a lovely autumn walk the other day along the river Thouet by Saumur in the Loire Valley, where we have just moved. I saw this stunning plant growing wild along the path and had to pick some seeds. Had not yet had time to find out what it was, but now I will look forward to see what happens in spring.
  • I was given some of this plant several years ago and happily grew it and let it self seed. I later did some research on it when trying to find its proper name and have had to dig up every one. It is poisonous and should not be grown near cattle or horses and I have both in neighbouring fields.

    I still find the odd one popping up now and again and I do miss it - pretty flowers in tight but frothy clusters and sumptuous dark beries when the fruits ripen and it's very hardy too.

  • I live in Serbia and my garden in full of Pokeweed. I have been pulling it up in hand fulls! However I did leave two plants one in the orchard and one in my shrubby area. Not ideal for a small bed. The locals poked at it with a stick and shrugged when I asked what it was. But I like it too! If my garden is anything to go by the Pokeweed is really good at self seeding. Watch out!
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