Pokeweed, Pokeberry



Hazard Information

Route: Ingestion/Skin     Plant Part: Root, Seeds, Berries (Unripe)

Scale: Low

Severity of poisoning depends on age. Children effected the worst. Symptoms include stomach pain, vomiting. Sap can also be a skin irritant.



Common Name(s)


or Pokeberry

Latin Name

Phytolacca Americana


Can grow to 3 Metres (10ft) tall. The leaves are elongated and oval in shape with pointed tips and prominent veins. The flowers are greenish white also pinkish in some cultivated varieties, crowded densely to form erect spikes. Purplish black berries form after flowering.


The roots of this plant are the most poisonous, the seeds and unripe berries are also particularly toxic. Ripe berries are harmless they are eaten in pies in USA.


Can cause serious poisoning to small children but less severe in older children and adults if eaten. Symptoms are stomach pains, diarrhoea and vomiting. The roots of the Pokeweed have been mistaken for Horse Radish and caused breathing difficulties, vomiting, dizziness and sore mouth. The sap can also cause irritation to skin and eyes.

Flowering Period

Summer flowering. Berries in Autumn.


Mainly gardens but occasionally it becomes established elsewhere and grows in a semi-wild state.