American Pokeweed in Clackamas County

American Pokeweed

The WeedWise program recently received a report of a new invasive weed in our area known as American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana). This observation comes to us from the city of Canby was it has been observed growing along a sidewalk.

The affected landowner reported that the pokeweed grew rapidly to establish within one year.  Although this plant is native to the southeastern US, it is not known to occur in our area and is now spreading quickly in our urban landscapes.

The seeds of this plant are bird dispersed and can move great distances from parent plants.  So help keep these invasive weeds from spreading further, by removing plants and preventing them from going to seed.

Why should I worry?

Pokeweed plants are poisonous, and consumption of them should be avoided.  Keep pets and small children away from pokeweed plants to avoid accidental ingestion.  In the southeastern US, pokeweed is sometimes eaten, but it requires special preparation to neutralize the toxins.  Without proper preparation, pokeweed poisoning can occur.

Ways to help!

Please keep an eye out for this invasive weed.  Familiarize yourself with this showy weed and report all sightings to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline.

Learn more about pokeweed on the WeedWise pokeweed profile.


Many thanks to Kari from Canby for sharing these photos!

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WeedWise Program