WSU Extension

Hortsense

Weeds : Pokeweed :
(revision date: 10/15/2019)

Family: Phytolaccaceae
Cycle: Perennial
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

Biology
Pokeweed is a shrub-like herbaceous perennial. It can grow quickly to a height of up to 10' in one year. The central stem bears egg-shaped leaves which can range from 6"-12" in length. Leaves are alternate and have pointed ends and crinkled edges. Pokeweed stems are reddish. It has a carrot-like taproot. The entire plant dies back to the ground in the fall. Pokeweed blooms during the summer. The flowers are in greenish-white long clusters (racemes. By late summer, berries have begun to form, at first green and later purplish-black. SPECIAL INFORMATION: The berries and roots are highly poisonous to humans.
Habitat
Pokeweed does well in either full sun or partial shade. It can grow on a wide range of soil types.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Hand remove first-year plants early in the growing season. The large taproot makes it difficult to remove established plants.
  • Cut plants numerous times during the growing season each year until controlled.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Apply a systemic herbicide to the foliage in late summer.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
Turf areas
    Bare ground areas
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      Caption: Pokeweed plant
      Photo by: K. Volkov
      Caption: Pokeweed berries
      Photo by: K. Volkov
      Caption: Pokeweed stem
      Photo by: K. Volkov