A catalog of Native North American Plants: Phytolacca americana

Phytolacca americana

Common name: Pokeweed, Pokeberry, Poke, American pokeweed.is a poisonous, herbaceous perennial plant in the pokeweed family Phytolaccaceae growing up to 8 ft in height. It has simple alternate leaves on green to red or purplish stems and a large white taproot, the flowers are greenish white or cream and it produces purplish black berries. Flowering from June – October. It us native to the eastern half of the continent.

Berries when crush and heated with a ph of 3.5 (vinegar) gives a pink, though it is believed to be a fugitive but in the Harvesting color : how to find plants and make natural dyes / Rebecca Burgess she mentions “ dyers have long wondered whether it was possible to transfer pokeberries strong magenta into fiber in a lasting way as it fades with exposure to light. However weaver Carol Leigh experimented with the levels of acidity to devise a method that creates a lasting color. She creates a low ph vat and Pre- mordants the fiber in vinegar”

Ratio: 25: 1 berry to fiber

Vat Ph: 3.5

Heat – low to medium or else the color will change (160 F)

Dyeing time: 2 hours

Dye color: Yellow, Magenta

Dye source







Light yellow




Pale yellow