Mystery plant 043

This weedy, possibly invasive, plant can be found in waste places throughout most regions in North America.  When you recognize it, please leave a comment below with its common name, scientific name, and any personal story you may have about this plant.


New growth in spring


Mature plant


Leaves and leaf arrangement along stem






Dried stalks and fruits in winter

ANSWER (subsequently added to this post to facilitate the “search” function for these images): Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Also, read the blog post and watch the plant portrait video for Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana).

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14 Responses to Mystery plant 043

  1. Pat DeRyke says:

    Common Pokeweed or Pokeberry: Phytolacca americana

  2. Deborah Wagner says:


  3. Sarah says:

    poke a.k.a. pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

  4. Carol VanZile says:

    Phytolacca americana or common poke weed/poke berry

  5. Ruth says:

    Poke weed! We have this everywhere.

  6. Julie says:

    Ha!! Just saw this in Central Park today!

  7. Chana says:

    Phytolacca americana – Pokeweed

  8. Tommyboy says:

    Poke plant — phytolacca americana, I recognized those berries

  9. Rennie Biest says:

    American Pokeweed – Phytolacca americana

    I have eaten this and it is delicious. I used the younger leaves. I boiled it twice and dumped the water each time then a final boil before buttering and eating. Yum! More info on

  10. Dr. Hank Baby says:

    Pokeweed is the plant. The berries reputably were used as an ink and pigment. The berries do stain clothes so use them wisely in a food fight! If you are planning to eat the leaves, follow cooking directions carefully to avoid toxic compounds.

  11. Carole P says:

    Pokeweed. I grew up on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the youngest of 11 children (eight boys, three girls), and I have fond memories of this plant, since we used it as food and the ripe berries as ink and dye. My mother never made poke salad of the leaves, like in the song Polk Salad Annie, but she made a delicious pickled poke dish, which she also called salad. She boiled the tender, young stalks in a vinegar & sugar syrup, and even though the young stalks were green, the finished dish was green chunks with a red thickened sauce. I wish I could remember how she made it, but, alas, I have only been able to find recipes using the leaves.

    Fast forward to the future, I am back homesteading a mile from where I grew up and pokeweed is a weedy, invasive nuisance.

  12. Maura Garcia says:

    Yes poke weed. The young leaves can be cooked like greens, some people cook them thrice to remove the bitterness. As already stated parts are poisonous, but the berries can be used for dye and other parts of the plant can be made into medicine by people who are skilled/trained. They are very common in the south (where I am from) and are not European and invasive, but Native. However in modern times some farmers and landscapers do not seem to care for them much.

  13. Kelly Nichols says:

    Phytolacca americana, Pokeweed.
    I had a HUGE beautiful plant outside my door at my job. Oh how I loved watching it grow – so pretty!

  14. Angelyn says:

    Each of you gets a gold star! Yes, this is Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana). Thanks to everyone who posted a story about the plant. I enjoyed reading about your experiences and connections.

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