Organic Horticulture in the Mid-Atlantic/Pokeweed

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Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed) is a shrub-like native herbaceous perennial with green or reddish stems, large leaves, and a long, fleshy taproot. The plant's seeds are berries that are spread by birds, and frequently are found around the driplines of trees, shrubs, and along fencerows.

Pokeweed can be difficult to pull due to the very heavy and deep taproots, and a full-sized mattock may be required for large specimens. Seed supplies can be reduced by at least cutting down plants in adjacent uncultivated areas before the berries ripen. Seeds may germinate under mulch, and paper barriers are ineffective as the plant can push through.

Pokeweed shoots can be composted in cold piles if berries are not present (roots should not be added to cold piles).