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Home > Alien species in Slovenia > Alien plants > American pokeweed

American pokeweed

Phytolacca americana
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Foto: arhiv Zavoda Symbiosis
Foto: arhiv Zavoda Symbiosis
Foto: arhiv Zavoda Symbiosis

NATIVE RANGE: North America


PATHWAYS: horticulture; seeds are secondary spread by birds



DESCRIPTION: A branching herbaceous perennial, which may have a partially woody lower stem. The stems of adult plants are usually reddish. Leaves lanceolate, up to 30 cm long. Flowers are borne racemes, up to 30 cm long, which arching towards the end of flowering. Flowers are white. Fruits are round berries, slightly indented at the top, borne in arching clusters. Unripe fruits are green, when ripe they are shiny dark purple. Plants die back each winter.

HABITAT: Growing on shady, nutrient-rich and moist ruderal sites, forest edges, arable fields and wastelands.

STATUS: Widespread all over Europe. In Slovenia widespread, especially in the Central and Eastern parts of the country. 

SIMILAR SPECIES: Indian pokeweed (Phytolacca acinosa) usually only grows to 1.2 m. Inflorescence and fruits are borne in erect clusters. European native deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) has a similar erect, fleshy stem, but flowers are single, purple-brown and pendulous. Fruits are initially green, turning black when ripe, with a persistent calyx. Its berries are highly toxic!

SOURCE: Field Guide to Invasive Alien Species in European Forests

Risbe: Paul Veenvliet
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