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Warwickshire, United Kingdom Gb

Does anyone know the names of this plant please?
The photos show white flowers and dark wine red berries. Plant is about a foot high, and I have no idea where it has come from.

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It appears to be Phytolacca americana, or Pokeweed. All parts of the plant are toxic to some degree, the sap can be an irritant to skin, and the berries are particularly poisonous.If you decide to dig it out, cover any areas of skin to prevent contact.

25 Aug, 2016


I am going to quote an American friends posting about this plant. Make what you will of it.

"None of the plant is toxic except the roots, that is an old wives tale that persists to this day. I have poke weed growing everywhere here. The leaves in early spring are eaten like spinach and taste similar. When young the stems can be peeled and steamed like asparagus or sliced and fried like okra. The plant does have oxalic acid but so does spinach, beet greens, cabbage, chocolate, black tea and almost all dark leafy greens. The berries are food for wild birds, and my dog loves them. We used the dark purple juice for ink when I was a kid. If the plant was toxic there would be no one left in the south because it is a spring staple. People drive the back roads here searching for poke weed. At this time of year it is too strong and tough to eat but next March or April it will be coming up again. You can also prune the plant back late spring and eat the new growth. All that is required is to wash and boil the leaves for 10 to 15 minutes then pour into a colander and let drain. When reasonably dry saute in oil about ten minutes and add salt to taste. We like to add one or two eggs and scramble those with the greens till done. Serve with hot buttered cornbread and a dash of pepper sauce. Poke weed also has anti cancer properties and about the same vitamin content as spinach. "

26 Aug, 2016


There are quite a few species of Phytolacca. I don't think this is P. americana as the racemes would be pendent in fruit. Most of the other species are Asian. I wouldn't eat it!

26 Aug, 2016


Thank you all - you're all correct :-) The Wikipedia article covers all that you've written - very interesting.

It looks like a P. americana, however the plant only appeared this year after I cleared the area last autumn - perhaps that's why the flowers and berries are still upright.

As we don't have the song birds here who would benefit, I don't feel bad removing the plant. It's not really in the right place, and it will be far too big for the area soon.

Thank you very much for your help.

28 Aug, 2016

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