Indian Pokeweed
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Indian Pokeweed
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Indian Pokeweed, Himalayan Pokeberry, Indian poke, Indian pokeberry • Hindi: Jagra, Jagrya, Jarugu, Matazor, Sarangum • Kashmiri: Haapat makai ﺣﺎﭘﺖ ﻣﲀﺋﯽ
Botanical name: Phytolacca acinosa    Family: Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed family)

Indian Pokeweed is a herbacious plant, growing up to 1-1.5 m tall. It has large lance-shaped leaves, 15-25 cm, which are long-pointed, and narrowed at the base to a short stalk. Green-white flowers are borne in erect cylindrical clusters, opposite the leaves. These spikes are 5-15 cm long. Flowers are 7 mm across, with 5 obovate, spreading petals, with 8-10 stamens. Each fruit has about 8 fleshy dark purple carpels. The fruits are also crowded on erect cylindrical clusters. Indian Pokeweed is said to have narcotic properties, and produces a bitter toxic substance. The leaves, when boiled, make an excellent pot-herb. Indian Pokeweed is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir to SW China and SE Asia, at altitudes of 1500-3000 m. Flowering: June-September.

Identification credit: Nongthombam Ullysess Photographed on Govindghat-Ghangria route, Uttarakhand & Kashmir.

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