The pokeweeds, also known as poke, pokebush, pokeberry, pokeroot, polk salad, polk salat, polk sallet, inkberry or ombú, comprise the genus Phytolacca, perennial plants native toNorth America, South America, East Asia and New Zealand. The generic name is derived from the Greek word φυτόν (phytos), meaning “plant,” and the Latin word lacca, a red dye.[2] Pokeweed contains phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin, which are poisonous to mammals. However, the berries are eaten by birds, which are not affected by the toxin because the small seeds with very hard outer shells remain intact in the digestive system and are eliminated whole.

Pokeweeds are herbs growing from 1 to 10 ft (0.30 to 3.0 m) tall, although specimens as tall as 14 ft (4.3 m) have been observed. They have single alternate leaves, pointed at the end, with crinkled edges. The stems are often pink or red. The flowers are greenish-white, in long clusters at the ends of the stems. They develop into dark purple berries.

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