GardenDrumEcoQuest Challenge: American Pokeweed

American Pokeweed. By Tubifex [GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons]

The New York EcoQuest Challenge for September 2017 is ‘Pokeweed Pursuit’, part of the NYC EcoFlora Project tasking citizens to take and share photos of a target plant or animal each month.

American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is a native plant that grows in a wide range of habitats from sidewalk tree pits to gardens and natural woodlands. While its berries are mildly toxic to humans, they are an important food source for songbirds and small mammals.

You can help document the distribution of this plant species, and the animals that depend on it, by participating in the EcoQuest Challenge. Despite Pokeweed being widespread and easy to recognise, its true distribution in New York City is poorly known, and there are very few documented animal interactions.

Take photographs of American Pokeweed and any animal interactions, and post your findings on the NYC EcoFlora Project at iNaturalist.

To get started as a citizen scientist:

  1. Download the iNaturalist App, or register at
  2. Take photos for the month’s EcoQuest Challenge (September 2017 is American Pokeweed).
  3. Post your findings to the NYC EcoFlora Project on iNaturalist.
  4. Check the NYBG EcoQuest web page for updates and new challenges!

Click here for a Guide to American Pokeweed.


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