Plant I.D. – Pokeberry

(Question)

This sprung up in my back yard last year and now it’s popping up all over the place. Will the birds eat the berries. How tall will it get? It started as a shrub and now looks like a tree one year later. What is it?

Back yard Sept 19th (2)

(Answer)

From your photo the shrub in question appears to be Phytolacca americana common names include pokeberry, pigeonberry, inkberry, and pokeweed. This plant is a herbaceous perennial that grows up to 2m tall.  It is native to the eastern United States. All parts of this plant are highly toxic to humans when fresh and ingested in great quantity.

This shrub has simple opposite leaves on green to purplish stems. The flowers are green to white, followed by purple to almost black berries which are a food source for songbirds as well as some small animals.

The following websites give additional information on this plant:

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=PHAM4

https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/all/phytolacca-americana-p-rigida/