Pokeweed

Pokeweed

Phytolaccaceae Phytolacca americana

Native

Pokeweed is found across almost all of the United States and eastern Canada. It is only absent in the western states around the Rockies and the Dakotas. It grows well in new forest plantations, forest openings, edges, and disturbed sites.

In the late summer and early fall the fruits produced are eaten by songbirds, mammals such as black bear, raccoon, opossum, and gray fox, and particularly favored by red wasp. Fruit and foliage are browsed readily by white-tail deer. The fruit and seeds are of particular importance to the Mourning Dove in fall and winter. With a seed viability of around 40 years and distribution by birds, the easiest way to propagate this species remains site disturbance.

Some landowners consider the plant a pest when it occurs on forest edges near their homes. It is easily controlled with 2,4-D and a weak concentration of Glyphosate as a heavy concentration of Glyphosate will simply “burn” the leaves and generate regrowth instead of killing the roots.