I found this strange vegetable-looking plant growing randomly outside my apartment and was wondering what it is. It looks like a mustard family vegetable and the purple/green stem is similar to various mustard/broccoli species, but I am not sure what it is or even if it is edible. There are some flowers and it will soon form seeds.

Can someone help identify this plant for me? It grows very rapidly like a weed and the leaves are growing bigger each day.

Note the flowers

Leaf structure



That is Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana). It is an obnoxious weed in many areas. It is poisonous, but can be edible when young.

  • Thanks Mr Musser. That does appear to be the Pokeberry. I Googled a few images for Pokeberry and it does resemble it. The flowers are identical to images I have seen, but it hasn't turned purple yet. I will leave it for a while to see if it turns into purple berries before I uproot it. Seems like I may have to wear gloves for precaution.
    – David
    Jan 4 '15 at 7:57
  • 1
    I just want to clarify that, without proper preparation, pokeweed/pokeberry is NEVER safe to eat. It is still poisonous when young, if eaten raw.
    – BenjiWiebe
    Mar 29 '18 at 13:09

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