POKE, the common name for plrytolacea,deeandra, called also gayet, pigeon berry, and only representative in America of a small apetalons faculty. pleglolnecaerce. It is found also in n. Africa, the Azores, China, and the Sandwich islands, and has beednaturalized in southern Europe and the West Indies. Phytolacea decandra grows on roadsides, farmyards, and uncultivated fields. It has a stem from four to nine ft. high, bearing :thematic, ovate-oblong acute leaves, with large petioles; calyx of five rounded and petal-like sepals, stamens 10, styles 10. The flowers, With white calyx and green ovary, grow on terminal racemes, which become lateral and opposite the leaves. It commences blossoming in June. The green ovary develops into a depressed globose live to ten-celled berry, with a single vertical seed in each cell. The berry ripens in Aug. and Sept., becoming a very dark purple, filled with crimson juice. The young shoots are often collected in the spring, and eaten as a substitute for asparagus, or cabbage sprouts. The root is large, fleshy, conical, and branched, being at the largest part often more than four in. in diameter. When dried, as seen in commerce, it is lon gitudinally wrinkled, brownish, yellowish gray-externally, breaking with a fibrous frac ture. Internally it is of a dingy white color, possessing little odor. The taste is at first
somewhat sweet, afterward acrid. It contains tannin, starch, resin, mobile of ume. nod other common constituents of plants, but no active principle has yet been separated. The powdered root is emetic and purgative in doses of one or two drams, and two teaspoonfuls of the juice of the fresh root hiss produced similar effects. It requires an hour or two for an ordinary dose to have its effect. An overdose, besides the effects above named, .causes great prostration of the nervous system, coldness and blueness of the skin, feebleness of the pulse, drowsiness, dimness of vision, coma, and sometimes convulsions. It has produced tetame symptoms in a child, which, however, recovered. These effects are not produced unless more than thirty grains of the powdered root are given. It has been used in diseases of the skin, such as scabies, linen capitis, rycosis peas, and -orange in dogs, both internally and in the form of an ointment made of the powder, in the proportions of one part of the powder to eight of bird.