Phytolacca americana

Pokeroot is just that, pokey. It is a powerful herb best known for its use in stimulating the lymphatic system; it is also a poisonous plant that should only ever be used under the supervision of a qualified herbalist.

A striking perennial that grows up to 8 feet in height, poke root, or pokeberry, as it is sometimes known, has deep-red stems and produces a profusion of dark-purple berries in the autumn. Its roots can grow as thick as an arm and spread out laterally like the network of an octopus’s tentacles or our cardiovascularf system.

Despite being native to the southern states of the US, pokeroot is very hardy and grows well in the UK. It does best in full sunshine, but can tolerate partial shade, and can grow in most soil types. Once established, it requires minimal care.

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