We are The Garden State and so we have learned from being residents here to embrace all of the beautiful foliage we have around us.

And even if you’re not familiar enough with horticulture to be able to recognize every one of the plants and name them, you certainly can appreciate the display, especially during spring and summer.

But depending on where you live, you never know what could be lurking just outside your door in terms of dangerous plants. Something that might look so innocent to you could be potentially toxic to your dog.

There are so many plants that can be toxic to dogs and cats and of course, many of them can be harmful to humans as well. One plant that you have to learn how to identify is called pokeweed, also known as inkberry. And especially now that spring is here, It has begun to sprout up all over the place. 

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It has a recognizable, reddish stem, yellow-green leaves, as well as clusters of dark purple berries. And what makes it worse is just about every single part of the plant is toxic to your animals.

It can cause really serious gastrointestinal diseases and animals and bring on symptoms like vomiting, excess salivation, drop in blood pressure, diarrhea and even tremors. In severe cases, it could even cause death to your pets.

Pokeweed was once thought to be limited to South Jersey but now has begun spreading through the region. It’s a beautiful plant that can fill your yard with greenery, but please look at pictures and familiarize yourself with the plant so that you can keep your pets safe.


Pokeweed is a perennial flowering weed officially known as Phytolacca Americana. It can be found in open fields and parks, along fences and in grassy clearings.

The good news is that it is easy to spot. It looks sort of unusual and stands out in a crowd of greenery. Pokeweed is a striking plant with a bright reddish stem, yellow-green leaves, and clusters of dark purple berries. It’s hard to miss once you know what it looks like.

The article goes on to point out that ironically, the most appetizing part of the plant is the pokeweed’s berries. And that's the one part of the plant that MAY not cause illness if ingested.

Regardless, it’s obviously a good idea to keep all animals away from pokeweed altogether. If you see any pokeweed growing in or near your yard, remove it immediately.


Some other plants that it might be helpful to identify are monkswood, poison sumac, poison hemlock, poison oak and poison ivy since these can also be very dangerous, if not deadly, to your animals.

Once you rid your surroundings of these dangerous plants, you can enjoy a safe, healthy and carefree summer with your furry friends!

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