.Phytolacca americana L., Sp. Pl. 441 1753. (Syn: Phytolacca decandra L.);  
Canada (New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec), USA (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas,
California, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New
Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia,
Wisconsin), Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca,
Puebla, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz), Portugal (I),
Austria (I), Slovakia (I), Germany (I), Switzerland (I), Netherlands (I),
Romania (I), Spain (I), Gibraltar (I), Baleares (I), France (I), Corsica (I),
Sardinia (I), Malta (I), Sicily (I), Italy (I), Montenegro (I), Bosnia &
Hercegovina (I), Slovenia (I), Croatia (I), Macedonia (I), Serbia & Kosovo
(I), Albania (I), Bulgaria (I), Greece (I), Crete (I), Tunisia (I), Algeria (I),
Morocco (I), European Russia (I), Northern Caucasus (I), Georgia [Caucasus] (I),
Armenia (I), Azerbaijan (I), Japan (I), Uzbekistan (I), Australia (I)
(Queensland (I), New South Wales (I)), trop. Africa (I), South Africa (I),
Lesotho (I), China (I) (Shaanxi (I), Shandong (I), Jiangsu (I), Zhejiang (I),
Jiangxi (I), Fujian (I), Henan (I), Hubei (I), Guangdong (I), Sichuan, Yunnan
Korea (I), Taiwan (I), Argentina (I), Uruguay (I), Bolivia (I), Mauritius
La Runion (I), Turkey (I) (SE-Anatolia (I)), East Aegaean Isl. (I), Rhodos
(I), Cyprus (I) (E-Cyprus (I), N-Cyprus (I), N-Cyprus (I), S-Cyprus (I)), Egypt
(I), European Turkey (I), Iran (I) (N-Iran (I), Iranian Aserbaijan (I)), Israel
(I) (coastal W-Israel (I), Rift Valley (I), N-Israel (I)), Lebanon (I) (coastal
W-Lebanon (I)), Afghanistan (I), Nepal (I), Philippines (I), Vietnam (I), Azores
(I) (Santa Maria Isl. (I), Sao Miguel Isl. (I), Terceira (I), Graciosa (I), Sao
Jorge (I), Pico (I), Faial (I), Flores Isl. (I), Corvo Isl. (I)), Madeira (I)
(Madeira Isl. (I)), Canary Isl. (I) (Tenerife (I), Hierro (I), La Palma Isl.
(I), Gran Canaria (I)), Cape Verde Isl. (I) (Santo Antao Isl. (I))
as per Catalogue of Life;
Inkweed (Phytolacca octandra) is very similar to American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) and Venezuelan pokeweed (Phytolacca rivinoides). These species can be distinguished by the following differences:
-Inkweed (Phytolacca octandra) flowers are borne on very short stalks (i.e. pedicels) only 2-3 mm long and usually have 7-8 stamens. Their ‘petals’ (i.e. tepals or perianth segments) turn red and persist on the developing fruit. The mature fruit are relatively small (4-6 mm across) and usually have eight slight lobes (i.e. they usually contain eight seeds).
-American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) flowers are borne on relatively long stalks (i.e. pedicels) 5-10 mm long and usually have 10-11 stamens. Their ‘petals’ (i.e. tepals or perianth segments) turn red and persist on the developing fruit. The mature fruit are relatively large (5-11 mm across) and have ten or eleven slight lobes (i.e. they contain ten or eleven seeds).
-Venezuelan pokeweed (Phytolacca rivinoides) flowers are borne on relatively long stalks (i.e. pedicels) 7-12 mm long and have 9-14 stamens. Their ‘petals’ (i.e. tepals or perianth segments) fall off as the fruit begin to mature. The mature fruit are relatively small (5-6 mm across) and have 12-16 slight lobes (i.e. they contain 12-16 seeds).



Phytolacca americana_RKC02_29072012: Phytolacca americana L.

Loc.: Gyeongju, S. Korea
Date: 27th July, 2012

a source of a potent mitogen… esp immune enhancer and some claimed inhibitor of aids viral replication…
those interested google “pokeweed mitogen” the pokeweed lectin… and look for immunology journals..
ps was considered to be teratogenic for handlers of this plant parts when large amounts were collected for analysis etc… i think purdue folks had some write ups if i am not mistaken…

Learnt from the net about Indian Pokeweed (Veratrum viride Aiton)…though never seen in the field. Requesting … to kindly enlighten if Indian and American Pokeweeds resemble somehow in their bio-activity.

I have never heard Veratrum sp called Indian Pokeweed… its a lily family member called Hellebore… native americans/ tribals used to treat high blood pressure with it.. but the therapy is apparently fraught with dangers and given up… (( so called Indian pokeweed is also a north american plant, a lily family, very different, very toxic…why is it called pokeweed I am not sure, ) …livestock is known to die from foraging on the green new shoots of this lily plant… its very toxic… This lily grows in water logged soil, mostly in American northwest states ..
WHERE AS Phytolaca grows often in well tended farmland and edges of gardens or rich yet disturbed lands, One variety is known to grow in marshes … all over the country….. they have these very attractive blue-black small berries that children sometimes eat by mistake and get sick…. burns the mouth so luckily the children stop eating them… but in large doses is fatal…
a lectin was discovered called the Pokeweed mitogen…. rest is history…
ps the green fruits in your pictures are unripe, when they ripen they turn blue black… look very juicy…

Phytolacca acinosa is much relished pot herb that Dr Srivastava my associate and author of a paper on this plant used to get from sunday market .It will be interesting if P.americanaa is also edible.

No … its not
we are discussing almost fatal toxicity…
sorry if our discussion was not explicit

… could tell us about this paper, or do you have a copy?
and where did this Dr Srivastava get it from the market… what town, provine and what years…

Flowers of the Himalaya by Pollunin & Stainton p341clearly mentions Phytolacca acinosa Roxb. as an excellent pot herb if leaves are well boiled.. A photograph is also given.The plant was procured from sunday market at Gangtok and much relished by myself and Dr Srvastava,now a Jt Director in BSI.He prepared a paper for Jl Hill Research by Sikkim Society in 1990. As I left Sikkim for CAL I have nt received reprintsts,I talked about less-known edible plants -Madurai Science Congress Botany section unde Prof Purakayastha. .. 

thank you…
yes all phytolacas have to be bolied atleast in thre…count three…changes of water to render them less toxic and edible… american tribes used to do that and the pioneers who learned from them..
but with advent of farming of other less toxic grrens for spinach, collard greens, kohlrabi greens, broccoli, broccoli rabe etc etc these old greens that are toxic need not be used for food anymore…
Interesting to know the history though…

I never knew about the toxicity of broccoli…just googled it and found some cases but unfortunately no authentic links. Would you plz suggest some authentic readings to know more about the same? I am interested as broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables!

Broccoli? Mine too, love it, sauteed with onions and in snowy winter day with garlic…otherwise not… 
I donot think I said anything about toxicity of broccoli…
I said greens such spinach broccoli etc are now available and so people do not have to eat old fashioned greens like phytolaca which are very toxic. But my sentence in that post above may be interpreted to imply that these new veggie greens are toxic to some extent, Thats sort of true…eg too much spinach will be bad for calcium absorption, because of oxalic acid… etc…
I had taken some classes with a lady teacher from UBC (where Tanay is) who used to say every thing under the sun is toxic … you just have to be careful and be wise about how to eat or combine stuff.
BUT since you got me started on this…. Broccoli is a brassica ….
Its a Brassica.. all brassica contain , varying amounts of Glucosinolate compounds, when eaten they block uptake /absorption of Iodine and hence lead to goiters… in people not eating enough iodine in daily diets ( the iodine supplemented salt is a misguided attempt at providing iodine to humans, it must be in an absorbable chelated form so it can go thru the gut epithelial barrier and can be transported , elemental iodine in the table salt may not be so very useful to the thyroid and other enzymes that need it for making/using t3/t4 etc, although some people swear by the iodinated salt… I do not wish to argue with them… they are too emotionally attached to iodinated salt… ) …but i am getting away from broccoli…
Anyway eaten as vegetable once in a while Brassicas are not bad… not to worry… unless you are eating mustard greens, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, broccoli rabe, mustard oil etc every day three times a day … which we often do except for the mustard oil… since these vegetables all arrive from the farm in the same season…. and we may be mistakenly thinking that we are rotating the veggies, untill the brain makes a connection that they are all brassicas…. there is a chance for overload of the goiterogens in our system…
Google glucosinolates and if you find interesting papers and you can download or copy them from your library please forward them to me. I’ll greatly appreciate it.. Many years ago I think NY times garden section and may be even the food section had run some news items (its stuck in my brain but cant find the clippinig just now) that broccoli florests have the higher concentration of the glucosinolates….
BUT RITESH… the good nutritional value of these vegetables esp anticancer and immune enhancing values far outweigh the goiterogenic content and fear … and that one can counteract it with iodine supplements… and if you are non-vegetarian with iodine rich sea food , sea fishes such as whale or tuna etc…

Googled ‘Glucosinolates & Broccoli’ and found a number of papers! Had a fast look on few of them and learnt about glucosinolates which are supposed to be good anti-carcinogenics. Interesting!!
Attaching three PDFs for your perusal. Hope to learn something more from you.




Phytolacca americana L. (accepted name) ?? : 4 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (13)

Location: Pilot Baba Ashram, Bhaktapur , Nepal
Altitude:  5500 ft.
Date: 11 September 2016

Phytolacca americana L. (accepted name)  ??
Phytolacca decandra L. (synonym)

Nepali Name:  जरिङ्गो साग   Jaringo Saag 

Yes …  A very distinct species with pendulus inflorescence specially infructescence , completely confluent carpels, purple berry and flowers with distinct pedicels. 


Phytolacca acinosa Roxb. (accepted name) ?? : 6 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (3) 
Location: Qingdao , China
Altitude: 100-200 ft.
Date: 2 November 2014

efi page on Phytolacca acinosa (altitude in Flora of China does not match) &  Phytolacca americana

Species list in Flora of China        

Yes, I was also wondering about the altitude!

I think matches with images at various threads under Phytolacca Americana





Phytolacca americana L. : 5 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (9)- around 500 kb each.
Location: Suryabinayak, Nepal  
Date: 29 July 2018
Elevation: 4700 ft.
Habit : Looks like escapee 

yes it is. had not followed its distribution in asia. seems it may have even naturalised in parts of asia ! certainly a danger to children who think the ripe bluish-black berries look inviting. but it soon burns their mouths, and saves any fatal high dose intake.
pokeweed mitogen is potent lectin the modulates immune response. commercially isolated in large scale.
we had long conversation there. if interested one could always look it up. 
Place: Ooty town (~ 7250 ft asl), Tamilnadu
Time: November 16, 2011 at 9.30am
Habit: small erect herb
Habitat: growing along roadside
Plant: standing about a metre high, often found 2 – 3 plants together
Inflorescence: about 9 – 12 cm
Flower: about 3-5 mm across

To me it looks like some Phytolaccaceae sp.
May be Phytolacca octandra

I think P. americana: flowers spaced, stamens 10-12 in number

In P. octandra flowers are condensed and stamens 8-10




Phytolacca americana L. : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (5)- around 1 mb each. 
Location Koteswor, Kathmandu, Nepal
Elevation :  4500 ft.
Date  26 August 2018
Habit : Cultivated