Name: Phytolacca Americana – AKA pokeweed
Type of Plant: I think this might be the first weed I’ve featured as a plant that I love. Pokeweed is a North American native plant, a large growing perennial with poisonous berries and roots. It’s hard to get rid of and the birds will plant it everywhere. Yet I love it.
Why I Love This: Pink stems, white flowers, berries that first are green and then turn black, and bright green foliage. All of this adds up to a dramatic, tropical look…this plant is a 1950’s drapery fabric come to life! The birds love the berries, it’s drought tolerant (a tap root that can be as large as a young tree trunk and growing down toward China) and a history of being used in a variety of ways in Native-American, African-American and Southern cultures. It has been used for inks and dyes, and is being studied for medicinal uses although don’t try that at home.
A Word to the Wise: Hardy in zones 2-11. In other words, just about everywhere. Since pokeweed can grow up to 12 feet tall and eight feet wide, if you also love it only let it mature where you can accommodate a very large plant.