Pokeweed, leave it or weed it?

American Pokeweed

The berries of American Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana, are poisonous. And oh-so tempting to you humans, especially when they are in full ripeness –and at their most toxic!–this time of year.

Pokeweed in late summer

The plant is big and weedy and produces many berries. No wonder it can take over a farmer’s field!

Yet there are birds who will eat them with no harmful effects, like the Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Gray catbird and Brown Thrasher.



3 thoughts on “Pokeweed, leave it or weed it?

  1. A local gardening expert advised me to kill the weed on sight. But now I’m conflicted if some birds eat it. I don’t know why he was so adamant. That was more than a decade ago…

    Thank you for the information. I think successful local species know what not to eat, so I may be less determined to kill this plant.

    Happy autumn!

    • Hi Judith, and thank you for commenting on this, but a website like ours cannot advise our human readers on wild edibles. As your article points out, it is a poisonous plant and that takes more real life training to handle.

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