Phytolacca americana L. Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed family)

Life cycle

Erect, branched taprooted perennial.

pokeweed plant young pokeweed plant
Pokeweed plant (left) and young pokeweed plant (right).


Alternate, hairless, broadly oval, lance- to egg-shaped with smooth to slightly wavy leaf margins.

Pokeweed seedling.


Smooth, succulent, herbaceous, predominantly reddish and branched multiple times without a central stem, reaching up to 9 feet in height.

Flowers and fruit

Greenish white to pink flowers yield erect to nodding, hanging clusters of conspicuous, deep purple to black berries when mature. Berries are poisonous, and berry juice will easily stain.

mature pokeweed berries
Mature pokeweed berries.


Seeds. Often dispersed by birds.

Print a PDF of this page: Pokeweed

Back to identifying field weeds.

The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.