A Comparison of Phytolacca americana and P. rigida


James W. Hardin

Additional Authors:


September – 1964


Phytolacca, americana, rigida, Poke, Pokeweed

Poke or Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana L., is a common and well-known weed throughout eastern United States. Phytolacca rigida Small is limited to the lower Coastal Plain of southeastern United States. Although I tend to consider these as distinct, the validity of P. rigida, at least as a species, is questionable. Careful study of the populations, utilizing modern techniques, should be able to resolve this problem without too much difficulty. The observations which follow are published in the hope that they may lead to a more thorough investigation by someone able to make the necessary field observations of P. rigida. Interest in this problem arose from a survey of Phytolacca as a genus of poisonous plants in North Carolina (Hardin, 1961) and from my collections of the two species in Georgia and Florida.