This tall, smooth, strong-smelling, stout and branching herb grows from four to twelve feet high from a large, poisonous, perennial root. It is a most familiar plant during autumn, when its round, purple-stained stalk, and conspicuous, long, drooping clusters of rich, dark crimson juiced and shining fruit attract our attention along roadsides and fence rows and in meadow corners. The large, tapering, oval leaves have strong midribs and toothless margins, and alternate upon the stalk with short stems. The small, squatty, five-parted, green-centred, pink-tinted, white flowers are gathered in long, terminal, clustering, purple stemmed spikes. The petal-like parts are really coloured sepals which take the place of a corolla. In the early spring the young shoots are much used as food and are boiled and eaten like asparagus. For this purpose they should be thoroughly cooked and not cut too close to the root, otherwise they will produce serious results. An ointment made from the Poke-weed is used in the treatment of ringworm and rheumatism, and also for relieving itching and inflammation of the eyes. Children like to make red ink from the berries. The word "Poke" is said to be derived from pocan, an Indian name for any plant yielding a red or yellow dye. During the campaign of President Polk the leaves of the Pokeweed were worn by his admirers. Although the berries are greatly relished by birds, children should be warned not to eat them. The Pigeon-berry is common from June to October. It ranges from Canada to the Gulf States.