Pokeweed
Phytolacca americana
Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed) Family

Phytolacca rigida (Syn. stricta)

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Pokeweed is also known as Poke Sally and Poke Sallet.

Plant is tall and large-leaved; branching plant with reddish stems and long clusters of white flowers. Preferred habitat is open woods, damp thickets, clearings, gardens and at roadside. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are long; widest at the middle; lance-like and tapering at both ends. Base is attached to a leaf stalk.

Flowers are about one-quarter inch wide; five sepals (modified leaves); white or greenish and petal-like. Flower petals are lacking. Flower spikes are slightly drooping. Flowers occur in the spring and summer.

Fruit is a dark purple-black berry appearing in drooping clusters that mature in late
summer.

This is frequently a troublesome weed with poisonous berries and roots, although young shoots may be eaten as greens if harvested before the pink color appears on the stalk.

Sometimes called Poke Sally (Elvis loved the greens and recorded a song about them). The berry juice was used by Benjamin Franklin as an ink for his quill pens and he called it Inkweed. The crushed berry was also used as a purple dye by colonists, and the fermented juice was used (with much caution, of course) to improve the flavor of cheap wine.

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