Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana_common pokeweed_JM DiTomaso
Photo: Joseph DiTomaso

Synonyms: Phytolacca decandra L. in part.

Common names: common pokeweed; American cancer; American pokeweed; cancer jalap; coakum; garget; inkberry; pigeonberry; poke; poke sallet; pokeberry; pokeweed; red-ink plant; redweed; scoke; Virgina poke

Phytolacca americana (common pokeweed) is a tall perennial forb/herb (family Scrophulariaceae) that invades disturbed sites throughout most of California except the Great Basin and deserts. In the Southern U.S., specially prepared shoots and berries with the seeds removed are used in foods. However, all parts of the plant can be fatally toxic to humans and livestock.

Cal-IPC Rating: Limited?

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Species ID Card

Invasive Species ID Card - To support field identification of early detection species, Cal-IPC has designed a set of Species ID cards that can be downloaded, printed double-sided, and trimmed to size.

Weed Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

There are no newsletter articles associated with this species yet.

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

Other Phytolacca americana Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution map of this species in California with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • Additional photos

    Phytolacca americana_flowers_copyright2014_NealKramer
    Phytolacca americana (common pokeweed) flowers. Photo: &#169 2014 Neal Kramer
    Phytolacca americana_fruits_copyright2014_NealKramer
    Phytolacca americana (common pokeweed) fruits. Photo: &#169 2014 Neal Kramer
    Phytolacca americana_growth habit_copyright2018_NealKramer
    Phytolacca americana (common pokeweed) growth habit. Photo: &#169 2018 Neal Kramer