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Pokeweed (Phytolacca Americana) plant known as the American Pokeweed it is a plant of significant toxicity. Pokeweed is a herbaceous perennial that can grow up to eight feet in height. The flowers range from green to white and them, produce dark purple to almost black in color berries that many varieties of birds feed off of. Pokeweed plants have a variety of stem colors ranging from green to red and even purple. American pokeweed is used as an ornamental plant and is native to the eastern portion of North America, including the Midwest, and found as far south as the gulf coast region. It can be found growing in pastures and woodland areas in the wild.
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Pokeweed produces seeds that have long viability; they can last for up to two years in the soil. The entire pokeweed plant is considered toxic to mammals and humans; The highest concentrated toxin region of the plant located in the rootstalk. Be aware that the leaves, flowers, berries, and stem are also toxic, and this plant becomes more poisonous as it matures. Pokeweed can absorb through the skin, so it is recommended to wear gloves and make sure to be covered when handling this plant. The sap from this plant can cause dermatitis for people with skin sensitivities. In addition to songbirds, there are a few varieties of smaller animals that seem immune to the toxins of the pokeweed plant. Raccoons, opossums, the white-footed mouse and a few types of fox remain unaffected by the toxic berries of the American pokeweed. The stem of the pokeweed plant usually turns red as the plant matures and it takes a few years for the root of the plant to grow strong enough to support the plant entirely.
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