Weed of the week – Common Pokeweed

Common Pokeweed (AKA – Pokeberry)

Family:  Pokeweed Family

Life cycle: Perennial

Description: A large, 3 to 10 ft tall, perennial weed with thick, reddish-purple branched stems and dark purple to black berries. All parts of the plant are poisonous to cattle, horses, swine, and humans, especially the roots.

Seedlings: Cotyledons 7-33 mm long, 6-11 mm wide, egg-shaped but pointed at the apex. Stems below the cotyledons (hypocotyls) are without hairs, succulent, and often purple-tinged. Young leaves alternate, egg-shaped but pointed at the apex, and without hairs. Cotyledons and young leaves are pale green in color, with reddish tinted petioles.

Roots: Large, white tap root up to 6 inches in diameter.



Stem: Branch from the root crown at the base of the plant, erect, large, smooth, purple-tinged.

Leaves: Alternate, 3 1/2-12 inches long, 1-4 inches wide, egg-shaped, petiolated, without hairs, and are smaller in size toward the top of the plant.

Flower: Individual flowers small (6 mm wide) with 5 white to pink-tinged sepals.

Fruit: A berry, 7-12 mm, green when immature, dark-purple to black when mature. Contain a dark red juice.


Special identifying characteristics: Large, tree-like plant with egg-shaped leaves, purple-tinged stems and dark purple berries.

Pokeweed Control in Corn and Soybeans


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