What is this weed? (First guess: Pokeweed but now wondering)

Asked July 14, 2017, 11:46 AM EDT

Hi! This plant popped up in my backyard flower bed, in a shady area that was replaced last year with new soil. I've never seen anything like it. It is growing from a single red stem, stem is about 1 inch in diameter. It's already about a 4 feet tall stalk. It's pushing out from underneath a hydrangaea which may account for the method of growth (more stalk, fewer leaves). The first guess from a gardening friend is "Phytolacca Americana" or "pokeweed" but the flowers don't look quite right, and this is a single stem rather than bushy. I'm going to pull this out but just wondering what this might be. I've never seen it in my backyard before. In the pictures, I've posted a view from the top, a closeup of a flower, and a closeup of the stem.

Multnomah County Oregon weed identification pokeweed

1 Response

Thank you for sending the excellent images.

Your friend is correct. The plant is Phytolacca americana, widely known as pokeweed. Judging from its size, it may be challenging to pull it out. Because it’s apparently among the roots of your hydrangea, you may need to resort to removing the new growth every time you see it. Your goal will be to eventually starve its large fleshy root.

Michigan State University has some great images to help you verify the ID. See https://pestid.msu.edu/weeds-and-plant-identification/pokeweed-phytolacca-americana/.