University of Maryland Extension


Phytolacca americana



Life cycle: perennial resembling a small tree
Growth habit: grows 3 to 8 ft. high, leaves light green, alternate, smooth, lanceolate to egg-shaped, often reddish on underside; stems reddish
Reproduction: seed or large, red-tinged, fleshy taproot; small, white flowers in long, purple-stemmed, hanging clusters; berries green at first, turning glossy, dark purple, leaving a purple-red stain; poisonous
Conditions that favor growth: grows anywhere seeds are dropped by birds; fields, roadsides, fence rows; thrives in deep, rich, gravelly soils
Cultural control: manually remove plants prior to flower formation and seed production


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