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Indian pokeweed - dangerous?

Hi - have been living in our house for 2 yrs now and we've had this plant come up each year during summer with large green leaves and a blackish fruit berry. Have been trying to identify it and from a quick search it looks like Indian pokeweed. I have no idea about this plant - would love to know more but especially whether it is dangerous as now i have a soon to be toddler she will exploring the garden and the berries do look enticing!


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,935

    If I remember correctly it's the roots and possibly mature stems. that contain a toxin. The leaves can be cooked and eaten and I'm sure I've read that the berries, although once reputed to be toxic, actually aren't.

    I would do some online research if I we're you, and remember that most gardens contain several poisonous plants and all small children should be supervised in the garden. 

    Last edited: 16 October 2016 23:23:41

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Great many thanks for the comments - and the welcome tetley!

    I might stay in the safe side and whip it out. We actually lots of different unusual species in the garden - the previous house owners loved their gardening and over many years have added allsorts. Is there a good website for uploading pics for identification at all? 

    Thanks for help ?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,431

    lots of IDs done on this site curly.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,431

    snap tetley.

    don't try and upload too large  a photo, I reduce mine , (phone and camera) to 30%. Otherwise they don't load but nothing tells you why

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Hi, have had some difficulty getting an id on this plant.  Found on a woodland walk in Yorkshire, recently listed it on a USA garden site found it is P. esculenta and the ripe berries are toxic. Large & exotic looking though.
  • HelixHelix Posts: 631
    That looks like Virginian pokeweed to me, phytolacca.  Hugely in invasive as well as toxic and has been banned from sale in some places.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,020
    I like that pink version.  Ordinary American pokeweed has white flowers and rich purple berries.  Great for nectar for pollinatos and the birds love the berries.   However, it is toxic to livestock so should not be grown in gardens where the seed can get into pasture and it can be toxic to hoomans if eaten in quantity.  Very poor folk in the USA eat the blanched leaves as a salad - Remember the Tony Joe White song?  Poke Salad Annie.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • PeggyTXPeggyTX Posts: 556
    edited November 2019
    Common American Pokeweed, although I have not eaten it myself (my Dad did though), is said to taste something like cooked spinach.  It is very nutritious like spinach as well.  But the method by which it must be cooked to eliminate its toxicity is somewhat drawn out.  Must be boiled/strained THREE times!  This video, if you're interested, shows the proper way to harvest and cook the leaves.  I watched another video on making jam/jelly from the berries, but again, since they are also toxic, they require special handling to make jelly from their juice.  Makes a very pretty-colored jelly indeed, but is way too much trouble for me to ever do it.   I have a couple of pokeweed bushes at our rural cabin property.  They can get quite large and the leaves color beautifully this time of year.  But I just pull the plants up and toss them iin the rubbish bin as fast as they come back up from their roots.  They are difficult to get rid of once they get large, semi-woody trunks.   
    My low-carb recipe site:
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