Unidentified plant! Please help ID (Philadelphia, Zone 6)

Angie_DIYAugust 6, 2013

I usually post in kitchens, and know little about plants, but I need your help.

I am working on my parents' home in Philadelphia, in the aftermath of my father's death, and have come across a plant that I have never seen before. The back yard has been just about invaded with a plant with broad, spade-shaped leaves, and white flowers that eventually turn into purple berries. I grew up in this house, and this plant was definitely not hear years ago.. The plants range in size from 3' high to 8' tall. The stalks are not ligneous, but are rather very soft and watery, kind of like bamboo. (They are stiff on the outside, and pithy on the inside.) The stalks get to maybe 3" in diameter. The root seems like a tap root, which I can pull out in the smaller specimens (but not for larger plants).

Here are some pictures:

Any ideas appreciated!
Thanks, Angie

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pat4750(Zone 6 Cen PA)

I believe your plant is phytolacca or pokeweed.
Birds like the berries and that may be how it got into your parent's yard.
How nice of you to take on this job. Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Thank you for identifying it and for the well wishes. I am somewhat relieved to learn it is a native plant. I had never seen this here when I was a youth, so I assumed it was invasive.

The plants have all been removed as of today. (Sorry, birds!) I and a cousin pitched in and de-jungle-ified a severely overgrown yard. (Vines, bushes, the now-identified pokeweed, rose of sharon, you name it!)

Thank you,

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 5:17PM
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