What is this plant in my yard?
September 15, 2016 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Can you identify this plant that has sprouted in my yard, in a few spots?

This was the year of cleaning up and planting lots of new stuff in my yard, including various bulbs. This plant sprouted up in more than one spot, but doesn't look like anything we planted. It's such an odd specimen. I don't know if it's a weed or something that should be admired.

Location: Pacific Northwest, USA. It didn't really spread - just one plant grew in each spot. It's currently about 3.5 - 4 feet tall, and almost as wide.

(In the first picture, ignore the yellow dahlia and the yucca in the foreground.) The plant has been growing all summer, and hasn't really flowered, other than these nubbins on there currently.

Can you help identify, and tell me, should I just kill it, or admire it? I don't know how I feel about it. I don't hate it, but I'm not sure I love it either. Will it come back next year? Thanks for your help!
posted by hydra77 to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
sure as heck looks like pokeweed..
posted by k5.user at 10:15 AM on September 15, 2016

(it will continue to spread, the berries and plant are toxic, and once it gets big, is VERY hard to kill -- has a strong root, you'll throw your back out trying to pull it once it gets big)
posted by k5.user at 10:16 AM on September 15, 2016

Yes, I agree - it's pokeweed. It can get very tall (we had one almost up to the eaves of the house), and it spreads easily since birds LOVE the berries & so happily distribute the seeds. Best way to remove it is to yank it up by the roots, and as k5.user says, that's much easier when it's small.

While the plant (pretty much all of it) is toxic, you can eat pokeweed -- this is common in Appalachia. But to prepare poke sallet you have to boil out the toxins. (My grandma also said that the smaller leaves are better, because the larger ones are too tough even after three boilings.)

We pull it up whenever we find it, as I am not a huge fan of poke sallet.
posted by dryad at 10:39 AM on September 15, 2016

It's toxic to both humans and pets.
posted by cecic at 10:40 AM on September 15, 2016

Annie could not be reached for comment.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 10:43 AM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's pokeweed, if you have kids or pets who are likely to eat the berries or leaves, I'd kill it. I definitely kill it in my yard.
However, if you are a person who is interested in natural dyeing, the berries can make a lovely range of pinks and reds, although it is not lightfast.
posted by Adridne at 11:02 AM on September 15, 2016

Thanks everyone, I guess I need to dig those bad boys out. Should have done that sooner.
posted by hydra77 at 11:32 AM on September 15, 2016

Speaking of dying until we realized what they were & pulled them up the berries gave my white dog the most amazing purple red patches that would not wash off.
posted by wwax at 12:47 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older A midnight critter is nibbling on my fruit! Help...   |   Solution needed for vetting new partner companies Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.