Biosecurity Alert - Pokeweed - Have you seen this plant?



Have you seen this plant?

Pokeweed - seeds, berries and leaves - is toxic to both humans and livestock and can contaminate agricultural produce. Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is a relatively new weed for Western Australia and we need to stop its spread. Let's work together to stop the spread of this weed in our area! Pokeweed was found last summer at Walpole, 180 kilometres from the Balingup location where it was first identified in Western Australia in December 2018.The plant has been found on several rural properties, including pine plantations, private property, government land and along roadsides.


BBI is supporting a collaborative government and industry program to eradicate this weed now underway. Balingup, Bridgetown and Kirup residents are asked to remain particularly vigilant for the weed.

How you can help:

  • Be aware of any new or unusual plants.

  • Note the location of the plant (using a GPS if possible).

  • Take photographs (leaves, flowers, fruit and whole plant).

  • DO NOT collect seeds, berries or leaves as they are all poisonous.

Reporting Options:

  1. Ideally, photograph it and map it using MyPestGuide ReporterTM (download the app to your phone on tablet); at "send to" drop down menu, select "blackwood biosecurity" and we will follow-up.

  2. Report to DPIRD - call 9368 3080; send photos to padis@dpird.wa.gov.au

  3. Report to BBI: BBI Report a Pest or by e-mail: info@blackwoodbiosecurity.org.au

Why Pokeweed Matters - All plant parts, especially the root, contain numerous saponins and oxalates and can be fatally toxic to humans and livestock when ingested raw or with improper preparation. The plant was used in traditional medicine but can have fatal consequences if not prepared correctly. Birds are unaffected by the natural chemicals contained in the berries and eat them, spreading the seeds. Seedlings are often found under roosting trees. Seeds can also be transported in soil. The plant also regrows from the thick central taproot after winter even if the above ground material is removed. Individual plants can live for several decades.


For more information about Pokeweed: DPIRD Biosecurity Alert - Pokeweed

Inkweed vs Pokeweed - Pokeweed is similar to "inkweed" (Phytolacca octandra), which is a widespread weed in the South West. Pokeweed is taller, has larger leaves, and the berry stalks hang down.



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