The City of Portland is warning residents about a poisonous weed that is invading the Portland area.
To many, it may actually look like an attractive plant. It's got bright green leaves, pink stems, and tasty-looking berries.
But this plant could be deadly. Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services says more and more of these invasive weeds are popping up across the Portland area. It called pokeweed, a plant native to the southeastern United States.
City botanists don’t know how it got to the Portland area, but they do know that it is spreading. Pokeweed is spread by birds which are immune to its toxins. The birds eat the berries and carry the seeds to new areas.
The plant can grow to great heights and if in a natural area can choke out all other native plants. But it's also popping up in neighborhoods, alley ways, and yards posing a human health threat.
"The plant is toxic all parts stems leaves berries and roots ... the roots seem to be particularly toxic," said Mitch Bixby, botanic specialist with the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.
Bixby says that if eaten the plant can cause severe nausea even death.
If you think you’ve seen pokeweed growing in Portland, or you think it’s growing on your property, please contact the EDRR Program at 503-823-2989.
For more information and to see the "weed of the month", click here.
Or click here to download a pokeweed fact sheet.