Betrock's Allergenic Plants of Florida
Finally... an allergy book that describes weeds, grasses, trees and shrubs from which the extracts are made that allergy doctors in Florida use for testing their patients. Help allergy sufferers identify and avoid the plants that cause their symptons.


Featured Allergenic Plant
Phytolaccca americana
Poke, Pokeberry,Poke Salad, Pokeweed, Inkberry, Pigeon berry, Coakum, Garget, Scoke

To identify this plant in the field, look for the purple-red stem that intensify as the plant gets older. The deep purple, almost black, of the ripe berries is also characteristic.

Phytolacca americana

One of the most poisonous plants in the United States because people eat the leaves without proper or complete boiling, or may accidentally pull up the roots by the leaves, the plants' chemicals can be absorbed through the skin.
This plant should not be handled without wearing gloves. Raw berries (over 10 berries) when ingested, are very toxic, but when used in pies are harmless. In spite of the danger, the plant is often cultivated as a pot herb. Roots and fruits are sometimes used as a source of drug for medicinal purposes, its usefulness is questioned.
It is also poisonous to livestock .Ingestion of the root, raw leaves, purple stem, or raw stem is followed immediately by burning of the mouth and throat. In two hours symptoms appear in the form of nausea, severe abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating,salivation, visual disturbance, weakness,spasms, convulsions, and death due to respiratory failure within 24 hours or else rapid recovery is then likely.

Phytolacca americana

Family: PHYTOLACCACEAE-Pokeweed family
Synonym: Phytolacca rigida Small
Common names: Poke, Pokeberry,Poke Salad, Pokeweed, Inkberry, Pigeon berry, Coakum, Garget, Scoke
Origin: North and Central America
Habitat: Open fields, roadsides in waste places, disturbed and cultivated areas
Range: Texas to Florida and North to New England, Southern Quebec to Southern Ontario
Type: Herb from Storage root, becoming somewhat woody: WEED
Height: 3-10'
Characteristics: Usually red, smooth
Flowers: Small in multiple clusters, white or pinkish
Season: Summer and Fall
Fruit: Green, ripening through red to black, fleshy
Allergenic component:All parts especially rootstock, berries (raw)
Allergenic principles:Phytolaccotoxin (a resin), phytolaccine (an alkaloid) and a saponin. Also a lectin with mitogenic properties.
Allergenic properties:Dermatological, respiratory
Poisonous: Yes

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