What type of plant is this? I did not plant it in my garden.

It is about 6ft tall and has a red stalk and purple berries. This is the 2nd year it came up, last year it was much smaller and no berries.
what type of plant is this i did not plant it in my garden, gardening
what type of plant is this i did not plant it in my garden, gardening
what type of plant is this i did not plant it in my garden, gardening
  28 answers
  • Jaix Brooks Jaix Brooks on Sep 29, 2014
    We call it "poke". I think poke salad is the southern name. We would pick the leaves, young to early mature leaves. Wash and then boil the leaves for a few minutes, pour off green bitter liquid, refill pot and boil again til tender. Drain and toss with bacon, a little bacon grease, sugar and vinegar. Mmmm The plant will grown into a thicket. The berry juice makes a great dye, stain or ink.

  • Mary Hodges Mary Hodges on Sep 29, 2014
    yep, its a "poke", wonder if it is called poke because it just pokes through the ground just wherever...but really tho, I understand that birds have to eat the berries and then "poop" them only then can you have a "poke berry' plant.

  • Maggie C Maggie C on Sep 29, 2014
    yep, poke weed. the very young leaves are edible, as @Jaix Brooks says, but older leaves are poisonous to humans. Birds spread the seeds, like @Mary Hodges says.I use the berries to dye old faded jeans purple. Remember to let rinse water run clear and set the dye with white vinegar.

    • See 1 previous
    • Maggie C Maggie C on Jan 31, 2015
      @Penny C Thanks. I was always told they were poisonous, but I'm going to try this. I've heard they're delicious.

  • Sandy Bebout Cain Sandy Bebout Cain on Sep 29, 2014
    Thank you for answering my question and the robins just love the berries

  • Penny C Penny C on Sep 29, 2014
    Yes it is poke and I grew up on it, if the leaves are bigger just make sure that you wash them a few times and empty the water each time, the best is to get just about medium leaves, do not use the stem or berries, and like I said wash them and then drain them really good (you'll need quite a bit) then you melt some grease or use oil and put the poke leaves it a pan when the oil is hot just a Tablespoon or so oil, and pour in a egg beaten up and then some chopped up onions.......... Now that is really good stuff

  • Bonnie Bassett Bonnie Bassett on Sep 30, 2014
    Is that the same plant that I grew up knowing as "ink berry plant" because the purple berries stain your skin ? It sure looks like some that I have growing on the borders of my yard

  • Carol Dombros Carol Dombros on Oct 11, 2014
    We called it Skoke berry - had a plant inside a pen for a tame raccoon - he LOVED the berries. (the coon was blind in one eye, my dad had a permit from the DEC to keep him)

    • Maggie C Maggie C on Jan 31, 2015
      @Carol Dombros Glad your family was able to help the raccoon.

  • LONI LONI on Dec 09, 2014
    Looks like an inkberry bush to me.We treat tham as weeds here in NJ

  • Penny C Penny C on Jan 02, 2015
    Poke Salad plant

  • M_n1053872 M_n1053872 on Jan 04, 2015
    How do you kill them? They get very thick stocks, so I can't pull them.

  • Penny C Penny C on Jan 07, 2015
    It's really hard to do once you let the stalks get that thick, the way that they spread is by the birds eating the berries and then when they poop well you know they are planting the spreading of them. I have tried to transplant them but it seems only nature can replant them. And that is by the birds eating the berries. they are a great natural green to eat. you just have to know how to cook them. One for the taste of them and 2 you could get sick if you don't know how. Those weeds have made many a good meals for me.

  • Penny C Penny C on Jan 07, 2015
    By the way what is NBSP????

  • Tim Passinault Tim Passinault on Jan 13, 2015
    It's garbage...a weed....don't let the berries fall or let the birds eat them you will have hundreds.....cut it down and "paint the stub" with Roundup!

  • M_n1053872 M_n1053872 on Jan 13, 2015
    Thanks, I agree, garbage, for me anyway!

  • Janette Smith Janette Smith on Jan 21, 2015
    Take advantage of what nature has given you, free food.

  • Poke salat and you don't want it!!!

  • Mary Mary on Mar 06, 2015
    Get rid of it ASAP. You will have an invasion in no time flat. They have roots that spread several feet from the mother plant and grow more. Once that starts it's almost impossible to get rid of them. If it hasn't done that yet dig it up and pull all roots out. Had an invasion in my yard because of neighbor in the back of us who thought it was a pretty plant. Had to get the HOA Involved to get her to remove the hideous invasive plant. Her's got to the size of a 10 foot tree. Had nightmares about forming a jungle in my back yard till HOA made her clean out her yard and get rid of it. This was three years ago and when I see one I still have nightmares about it. I can't stress enough, get rid of it APAP.

  • Shirley Midgett Shirley Midgett on Mar 13, 2015
    I think they are rather attractive......we ate them growing up but only the very young leaves and even those were blanched, washed, then cooked fully.

  • Sheila Holmes Sheila Holmes on Mar 13, 2015
    I'm so surprised that no one on here has mentioned that this is posioness. Read up on it before you decide to consume.

  • Mimi Haywood Mimi Haywood on Mar 23, 2015
    Poke berry, pretty but posion after it has gotten large enough to bear fruit. The young leaves can be used in salads.

  • Terrie Neudorf Terrie Neudorf on Mar 25, 2015
    This is a giant pest. Not for human consumption . Here it's an invasive weed . We never let it get this big.

  • Cindy Simmons Cindy Simmons on Mar 25, 2015
    Love that all the Southerners here knew it is poke salat :)

  • Francisco37388 Francisco37388 on Mar 26, 2015
    Yep, I'm Southern thru and thru. It's poke salad (sallet). When the stalks get large like this you can skin them and cut them up and roll in cornmeal and fry. Reminds me of fried okra. It's early spring here in southern TN and I'll be going out soon to look for some for supper. Yum Yum! Don't forget the eggs! Yes, it's poisonous if you just take and eat it green. So I'm told, but I and my extended family have eaten it many many years now.

  • Shirley Midgett Shirley Midgett on Mar 26, 2015
    I let a couple grow in pots in my yard because I know what they are and I think they are attractive but now after thinking about this more, I am going to destroy them. The possibly poisonous berries are too attractive to children and other berry lovers, why would I risk keeping them? And, these are clearly not favored by the birds in my yard either.

  • Bonnie Bassett Bonnie Bassett on Jul 20, 2015
    we always called them ink berries when I was a child because the berries stain your hands like ink

  • Brenda Benetz Mills Brenda Benetz Mills on Feb 04, 2016
    It is Polk salad. As it is it is poison-- berries and leaves but. ... Pick leaves and boil 3 separate times pouring out each batch of water. Now you can eat as a green. Or add eggs and scramble it together as you cook eggs. Add salsa to taste ...

  • Pjakin61 Pjakin61 on Feb 17, 2016
    it's poke, berries are poisonous---in KY we ate poke salad and made poke cakes

  • Alice Gray Alice Gray on Jun 20, 2018
    Wow! It's poke. I did not know US has this type of plant. This plant is very popular in Asian. Some type of birds can eat the fruit. It has some tubers look like Ginseng - you may learn more from https://friendsofthefoxriver.org/2017/07/04/dont-poke-weed/

    • Bjorn Bjorn on Sep 07, 2021

      North America has at least two Phytolacca varieties. This is Americana. It's used as a green here but not commercially for nearly 20 years, not counting Farmer's Markets. Preparation is a bit involved since it's also poisonous. Not remotely as poisonous and deadly as rhododendron but more so than rhubarb. Technically classed "non-invasive", except in California.

      Sadly some people here mishear the "T" in SalaT and think they heard "SalaD". Add to that most are used to eating raw salads and that's a recipe for a number of poisonings. Correctly prepared, its a good green with a shocking amount of vitamin C, A and fiber. The roots are deadly toxic. The berries taste awful---not very sweet and are somewhat toxic but have been used as a dye. Also the 10 seeds inside them are very toxic.