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Pokeweed

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Definition

noun, plural: pokeweeds

A tall plant native to North America, with a poisonous taproot, green or red stem, broad simple leaves, white flowers, and juicy purple to black berries.


Supplement

The root and seeds of the plant are poisonous. It is considered as a plant pest by some farmers. Nonetheless, it is being used in medicine for its anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects. It is also used in immunological studies for its mitogenic effects.


Scientific name: Phytolacca americana

Other common names:

  • American nightshade
  • cancer jalap
  • coakum
  • garget
  • inkberry
  • pigeon berry
  • pocan bush
  • poke root
  • pokeberry
  • red ink plant
  • redweed
  • scoke

Word origin: poke » variation of puccoon (i.e. pokeberries and puccoon roots were both sources of red dye) + weed » Middle English, from Old English wēod (herb, grass, weed).

Related term: