Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Phytolacca americana






Tall growing perennial weed, often reaching 2 meters (~6 feet) tall. Plant a tree like plant at maturity. Entire plant primarily glabrous. Stem green when young turning deep purple at maturity (late summer, early fall). Leaves solitary, alternate, elliptic to oval in shape with a distinct leaf tip. Inflorescence (10 to 15 cm long)is a sparse cluster of 15 to 30 flowers. Flowers with white to green petals, 1 to 1.5 cm in diameter. Fruit a sparse cluster of purple berries, 1 to 2 cm in diameter.


Highly toxic plant at maturity; however, leaves can be harvested in the spring and eaten as greens similar to spinach. At maturity the plant is a deep purple color throughout with all plant parts being toxic. Very common weed around barns, fence rows, and infrequently mowed areas with frequent animal and human disturbance. Plant grows from a thickened rhizome making the plant difficult to control.