Pokeberry facts

Pokeberry is a perennial plant which is found in Northern and Central North America. It is grown in damp soils in woodland margins and roadsides more than 10 feet. It is used as a medicine for eliminating health ailments, obesity and inflammations.
Pokeberry consists of triterpene alcohol, triterpene saponins, flavonoles, lignanes, etc. The antiviral protein found in the Pokeberry plant restricts the multiplication of human immunodeficiency virus, herpes simplex virus and treats childhood

Name Pokeberry
Scientific Name Phytolacca americana
Native Eastern United States
Common/English Name American nightshade, cancerroot, cancer jalap, coakum, chongras, crowberry, pokeberry, inkberry, garget, poke, pigeonberry, scoke,  red ink plant
Name in Other Languages Hindi: Pokeberry
German: Kermesbeere
French: Pokeberry
Spanish: Pokeberry
Greek: Pokeberry
Portuguese: Pokeberry
Polish: alkiermes
Latin: Pokeberry
French: Laque
Chinese: Hao-lu
German: Scharlachbeere
Chagga: Ibesa
Masai: Oladaba
Shambala: Hoko
Zulu: Umaheneni
Plant Growth Habit Herbaceous perennial plant
Growing Climate Damp soils
Plant Size 2-12 feet
Lifespan 2 years
Root Large, thick, coarse, fleshy taproot, Diameter: 4-6 inches
Bark Thin, brown
Stem Smooth, stout, erect; green, red, pink or purple, Height: 3-7 feet
Leaf Alternate, elliptical, oblong, lanceolate or ovate; Length: 3½-20 inches; Width: 1½-5 inches
Edible parts of the plants
  • Young tender leaves and shoots are consumable if thoroughly cooked in two waters.
  • The cooked berries are safe to make pies.
Flowering Season May – October
Flower Symmetrical, green or white-pink, Width: ¼-½-inch
Fruit shape & size Rounded, slight flattened, Width: ¼- ½ inch; Diameter: 0.25 inch (0.6 cm)
Fruit color Purple-black
Seed Smooth, round, flattened, black, Width: 1/8 inch
Fruit Season August – November
  • The consumption of several berries results pain, vomiting, nausea, salivation, stomach irritation, spasms, burning of mouth as well as throat and diarrhea.
  • The roots, seeds, berries and stems of Pokeberry plants are poisonous to animals and humans.
  • Pregnant women should not use Pokeweed berry because it may cause contraction in uterus and lead to miscarriage.
  • Breastfeeding women should also avoid Pokeberry.
  • Pokeberry is not safe for children as well.
Major Nutritions Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 217.6 mg (241.78%)
Vitamin A, RAE 696 µg (99.43%)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.528 mg (40.62%)
Iron, Fe 2.72 mg (34.00%)
Manganese, Mn 0.669 mg (29.09%)
Copper, Cu 0.251 mg (27.89%)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.234 mg (18.00%)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1.92 mg (12.00%)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.128 mg (10.67%)
Phosphorus, P 70 mg (10.00%)
Health Benefits
  • Healthy skin
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Prevent anemia
  • Healthy pregnancy
  • Bone health
  • Balances thyroid function
  • Brain health
  • Vision health
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Utilization of nutrients
Calories in 1 cup (160 gm) 37 Kcal.
Other Facts
  • The juice extracted from the Pokeberries is used to intensify the wines color.
  • Pokeberries are source of food for various songbirds.
  • Pokeberry possess an adequate amount of proteins, vitamins A, B1, C, B3, B2, B6 and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
  • In the past, Pokeberries juice was used as red ink and dye. So it got its name as Inkberry.