Remedies & Therapies > Plant Identification

Pokeberry [Pokeweed]: Phytolacca Americana

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Shady Lane:
My almost 15 month old daughter just got into some pokeberries growing on the edge of her yard.  I have no idea if she ate a lot or a little, though I seriously doubt if she managed to pick a lot of them.  She's red around the mouth, her hands are well stained (from mashing them I suppose) and there are juicy drips on her dress & feet.  She was obviously having fun!

I'm not too worried, but would like some ideas on reducing the effects if she ate enough to give her a tummy ache.  What are the best 'diluters'?


I think I would be a bit more worried and might take her to the doctor. A 15 mo could eat enough do more than giver her a tummy ache. Parts of this plant, including the berries are known to cause respiratory depression, coma, and death.


Here's some info from the web...

Several berries may poison a child and 10 berries or more may sicken an adult. Deaths of children have been reported from massive consumption of ripe berries.

Symptoms: In humans, symptoms of poisoning include a burning sensation in the mouth followed by stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, weak respiration, prostration, dimness of vision, and convulsions.


I agree with Whiterock.  Though the berries are not as poisonous as the leaves, stems and roots, there is poison in them and could seriously harm your daughter if she ate much.  I would advise you to call poison control or get your daughter to a doctor right away.  If she only ate a few berries she might be fine, but since you don't know, I would rather go the safe route and get her checked out.  And definitely cut down the pokeberries!

Shady Lane:
Thanks for your replies!  I appreciate the advice, and especially the link to that book, it had a little more info than I had been able to find on the internet. 

At this point I don't think I need to worry about her, it's been 3 hours now, and she is still acting perfectly normal.  She never even acted like it burned her mouth at all (which is supposed to be one of the first signs).

Also, I really don't think that she had many, as I was keeping a fairly close eye on her from the window, she had been playing on a pedal tractor.  It wasn't till I went to bring her in that I saw the berries and the juice on her.  So I know she wasn't spending much time picking/eating since I never saw her actually doing it.

A friend of mine had a child eat pokeberries several years ago, and when she called poison control they told her to just watch the child and bring him in if he started showing symptoms.  ~ Maybe that's why I'm not too concerned. 

But I am watching her VERY closely today!

Thanks again!


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