pokeweed or pokeberry, tall, bushy perennial herb ( Phytolacca americana ) native to North America but cultivated and naturalized in Europe. The long clusters of white flowers are followed by purplish black flattened berries, whose crimson juice has been used as ink and to color wines but is considered poisonous. The dried roots are sometimes used as an emetic or purgative; the young shoots are used for greens or eaten like asparagus. The plant is also called poke, inkberry, and garget. Pokeweed is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Chenopodiales, family Phytolaccaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on pokeweed from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Plants