Life Span: short-lived perennial
Size: Height: 6-10 ft Width: 5-8 ft
Flower Color: white
Fruit Color: black
Phenology: winter dormant
Noted for: Showy flowers, showy fruits
Recommended Uses: Interesting red stems. Makes a good specimen plant in an informal garden. Weedy in appearance if in large numbers.
Considerations: The roots and seeds are poisonous.
Propagation: Once you have one, others will follow from seed. It can also be transplanted from root stock.
Soil or other substrate: Sand, loam
Attracts numerous pollinators to the garden. Birds eat the berries.
Native Habitats: Flatwoods
Distribution and Planting Zones
Map is based on minimum winter temperatures
Suitable to grow in:
Ethnobotany: Young foliage is eaten, and some people plant seed just to get the young foliage. But beware, older foliage and the roots and seed are poisonous. Beware, unless boiled with multiple water changes, even the young leaves could be poisonous. These greens have been called poke sallet, an old English term for cooked greens--not "poke salad." Native Americans used the bright crimson juice to stain feathers, arrow shafts, and garments, and to decorate their horses. The United States Declaration of Independence was written in pokeberry juice.
Other Comments: Interesting red stems. Makes a good specimen plant in an informal garden. Weedy in appearance if in large numbers and stems tend to split when branches get too heavy or in high winds.