How To Get Rid Of Pokeweed

Otherwise known as phytolacca americana, American pokeweed is commonly found in the United States. It’s most abundant in the eastern part of the country.


Source: Wikipedia

All About Pokeweed

The name phytolacca is a combination of the Greek word phytos (plant) and the French term laca (crimson red). Americana was added because pokeweed originated in the US and grows most abundantly there.

Pokeweed is a type of berry that possesses a purple to almost black color and resembles grapes.

The stems of pokeweed range from red to purple in color.

This fruit is a primary staple for birds but is toxic to humans and bigger animals when eaten without proper preparation. This plant can make you ill. It can even kill. Even though pokeweed is considered poisonous to ingest, there are still a lot of people eating it daily.

It is said that the roots of the pokeweed shouldn’t be eaten because there is where most of the toxins are lodged.

Mature fruits shouldn’t be chewed either. These are the more poisonous ones. The seeds of the berries should also be discarded.

Important Note: If you want to consume pokeweed, take precautions. Rinse the berries thoroughly. It is recommended you boil them for 20 minutes. The same method should be applied to the leaves and stems. Do not drink the water it was boiled in. Do not eat pokeweed raw.

More Facts about Pokeweed

pokeweed berries

Source: Herbal Extracts Plus

Pokeweed was named after the native Indian plant pakon which is used in dyeing or coloring.

The red juice produced by pokeweed berry has long been used by American Indians for staining the feathers in their headdresses. They also color their faces, skin, horses, garments and weapons with pokeweed juice.

This practice has been carried out for centuries and pokeweed was also used in food coloring and as ink but is now prohibited due to its toxic contents.

Pokeweed has also been used as medicinal herbs in earlier times. Reports have it that this plant, however toxic it may be, can also cure serious ailments like syphilis and arthritis. It was used as a lymphatic cleanser and laxative too.

Protein from this particular plant is also being applied these days in some treatments for the HIV virus.

This plant is mainly popular among Native American Indians, presumably because pokeweed sprouts copiously in the wild.

How To Get Rid of Pokeweed The Easy Way

Pokeweed, however beneficial some people claim it to be, is considered by most experts a wild plant and a pest that is harmful not only to humans but to other plants as well.

It grows almost everywhere in the United States as it’s a favorite food of birds. Birds love seed. The birds drop the seeds indiscriminately. They germinate anywhere and everywhere.

Their color and appearance are very enticing, especially to small children. Even adults can be deceived and mistake pokeweed for grapes or other edible wild berries. For these reasons, the American government decided to have these perennial plants eliminated.

How can you do the same if your garden is blighted by pokeweed?

Below are some simple proven steps to help eradicate it.

Read on!

  • Firstly, you need to be more educated about what pokeweed looks like. This means you can avoid removing berries that are similar in appearance
  • When you spot one, simply pull the whole plant. Uproot it totally from the soil. It is easier to do this on a budding pokeweed due to its more manageable size
  • Dig deeper for bigger pokeweed plants. You need to remove all possible roots to ensure no more will sprout. You might need the help of a shovel
  • For larger roots,  use a small bolo or axe. Chop them off for ease of removal
  • Place all removed pokeweed parts into a sack or trash bag. Leave them to dry under the sun on cemented dry ground. Pokeweed will manage to grow back it’s left in soil. It will eventually die with the sun’s heat and no hydration
  • When the plant has totally dried up and died, it can be thrown into a bin for complete disposal

Important Note: Pokeweed is an invasive plant. It grows rapidly, especially in soft soil. Thorough removal should be taken care of to prevent future problems.

Additional Tips For Remaining Pokeweed-Free

Once a pokeweed habitation has been established, it will be necessary to continuously check for any new pokeweed growth.

Birds are instrumental in spreading pokeweed. We can always expect new growth to come out anytime, anywhere. Pokeweed is unpredictable.

Watch out for possible regrowth, particularly in the spring and summer. Uproot any suspicious plants while they are just beginning to sprout.

Wrap Up

We hope we have supplied you with as much knowledge as you need with regards to pokeweed plants. You should now have a solid overview of how to get rid of pokeweed the easy way.

If you have any comments, queries or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always more than happy to help you.

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Happy weeding!

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Dianne T. Lampe

Hi there, I’m Dianne! Welcome to a one-stop shop for your gardening needs. We aim here to offer up a very wide range of information about many aspects of gardening. From flowers and planting through to vegetables and accessories, find all the information you need here. We have a true passion for everything green. We’re highly motivated to develop this site continuously and offer any insights we can alongside useful facts and handy hints. Please get in touch and let us know what you would like us to cover. Thoughts and feedback are always welcomed. Enjoy!

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