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TangleRootz: Pokeroot

TangleRootz: Pokeroot

In this Zentangle Blog Series we explore the ins and outs of some of our most loved Tangles. Join us as we journey back to how it was discovered and deconstructed, why a certain tangle got its name, and who was involved in the process. We will look into different styles, applications and tangleations of a tangle. We will examine how some tangles have evolved over time and discuss how the same patterns have multiple names. Some tangles have inspired tangleations that were so wonderful that they became their own tangle. This series is fun deep dive into the life of a tangle.

Today, we take a look at the tangle pokeroot. Enjoy!


Molly writes...

Pokeroot is one of the few tangles that is quite obviously named for its origin. It is one of those tangles that when I see it randomly drawn in the wild world of art … I can almost be certain that the artist that drew it, perhaps had some connection with the Zentangle method. It is almost like it could be a hidden secret code.
The tangle pokeroot was inspired by a weed, (I mean plant) that grows here in New England. It is known by a few names such as Pokeroot, Pokeberry or Pokeweed.  I find them to be quite amazing in appearance. Their beautiful purple berries are mesmerizing and their ability to grow almost overnight is fascinating. And although the plant itself can be poisonous it also has medicinal benefits if used specifically. What alluring properties for something that can grow with almost no soil.

Pokeroot is a tangle that can be learned early on in one’s Zentangle journey. It is a great combination of straight and curvy strokes. It is easily learned but it also has so much room for growth. One can undoubtedly sink their teeth into some deep pokeroot explorations and it is a great tangle to discover new techniques for shading, layering and composition.


pokeRoot stepout by IndypokeRoot step-out by Indy Hollibaugh

Pokeroot is an organic tangle and just like its namesake can cover a tile like an invasive species. It can thrive in small or large spaces and cover space quickly and sprout off in all sorts of directions.
Pokeroot is most definitely responsible for inspiring its sister tangle pokeleaf which one might categorize as a tangleation. However, pokeleaf also has such a strong presence that it earned its place as a tangle. You could probably also credit pokeroot for inspiring the tangle rixty as its approach and beginning strokes are much the same. One might consider it a distant cousin.
As a Zentangle enthusiast works with pokeroot overtime they might notice that is morphs little by little. Pokeroot is definitely one of those tangles that captures the personality of the artist. This sort of happens with all tangles but with pokeroot it is clearer and more interesting. It is almost as if each person starts to cultivate a slightly different variety of this one species. I think that is my favorite characteristic of this tangle.



  • First of all: I adore that wonderful step-out created by Indy! Whow! Pokeroot is such a wonderful tangle. When I introduced it in a group of adults with intellectual issues this tangle was a true hit! Some of them couldn´t stop doing it! This is such a heartwarming memory from my last year as a teacher before retirement !

    Anita Aspfors Westin on

  • One of my first and favorite tangles is poke root. It grows easily and is so versatile. I use it often and everywhere!

    Lee Kay on

  • Poke Root is one of my “go to” tangles. I always teach it in my Basic class as an example of an organic tangle and also one of “drawing behind” as we layer it. I love Indy’s step-out which reminds me how fascinating it is to watch kids (and adults) draw the second step, sometimes as a “happy face”, others as a “sad face“ or like Maria often does, as a “little line”. Any one of the three give it a totally different “plumped up” look. I also teach it in combination with Rixty, creating little Rixty roots. Oh what fun we have with these basic tangles! Thanks Molly (and Indy for her artwork) for this great blog!

    Brenda Shaver Elora, Ontario

    Brenda Shaver on

  • Pokeroot in flemish = Vogelkers (bird-cherry)

    Ward Van Honsté on

  • I look forward to trying this tangle. The plant itself is glorious and the one in my garden brings flocks of waxwings to feast on its berries.

    Christine Cook on

  • I was unfamiliar with this plant until my association with Zentangle. It mystified me; I thought, “Root? It looks like berries, not roots!” I rarely use it, although I love seeing others’ renditions.

    Margaret Bremner on

  • I’m still working through learning all the tangles. It was very interesting to hear the history of Pokeroot, which is one that I learned. There is definitely a very satisfying plumpness that can go on with it that I enjoy. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Ruth Gauss on

  • I got to Poke Leaf and seldom venture to Pokeroot… time to change that up. Thank you, Indy!

    Jamie Herron on

  • Notices walking around the various shapes of wheel covers on autos, has anyone done a tangle of these shapes??? Just wondering…

    Bruce a newbie on

  • How interesting is this story. Thank you. I struggle with Pokeroot. But even so I use it frequently. Ever since I started tangling (2014). But I am determined to become friends, one day…. but not quite yet. :0)

    Karin on

  • Poke root and poke leaf do tend to morph in and out of each other when I’m drawing them. I was excited to see an actual poke leaf plant one day when I was traveling. It is quite lovely.

    LIsa Hoesing on

  • Great step outs Indy!
    When I first learned Pokeroot I wasn’t that thrilled. I drew it very small and was unsure about how they should fit together. I can’t remember which event it was, but one of the HQ crew drew it with big plump berries and I loved it. Now it’s a fave of mine to draw!

    KIm Kohler CZT on

  • I am inspired by Jody G.’s thoughts about using pokeberries this summer to stain a tile. Might experiment with a careful application of clear nail polish as discussed in an earlier blog entry by Maria to see if it will preserve the color and prohibit fermentation. Life is just full of science experiments!!!

    Linda Dochter on

  • In the South, it is also known as “poke salad” because the young leaves can be cooked and eaten in Spring. The mature leaves are not edible, due to their oxalate content.

    Valerie H. on

  • This has always been a favorite and is still one of my MAC n Cheese tangles. You’re absolutely right! It’s has definitely morphed over time and it seems different each time it comes out to play. Love it! I also love that Indy drew the stepout…. she’s such a budding artist!

    LovelyRita on

  • Cool to see that Indy drew out the step-out for ‘Pokeroot’!!! Looks great!!! ❤️

    Randall on

  • My favorite tangles are mostly organic tangles and Pokeroot is one of them. I like it very much to read how you came to your tangles. Thank you very much Molly for the story and congratulations for the beautiful page of Indy!

    Ria Joris-Matheussen on

  • Two summers ago a pokeroot/weed/berry bush popped up on top of a mound of dirt we have had at the back of our lot for some years seemingly out of nowhere. I warned everyone to stay away from it. They thought because I told them it could be poisonous, but in truth I was waiting to cultivate the berries and smash them on a tile. It makes the most gorgeous color of pink I’ve ever seen. Over time it starts to fade, but there is nothing like tangling some pokeroot over some poke juice :o)
    Oh, and be careful if you do this and keep it in a ferments and can blow the lid clear off!

    Jody Genovese on

  • How lovely this Pokeroot looks as it grows and changes. Well done Indy! 💕

    Kathy Y. on

  • I love to fit pokeroot into little spaces and also I love to let it come out of unexpectedly from other tangles.

    Betsy on

  • Pokeroot is one of my favorite earthy tangles. I like when it starts to grow and spread out on the paper.

    Joanne Erhartic on

  • Mac N Cheese tangle! Everyone had their own recipe!

    Renée HArmon on

  • Pokeroot was one of the first tangles that I learned and still use as a “go-to” whenever I want to fill space. I just love drawing it

    Sue on

  • I, too, love pokeroot and use it when I’m desirous of an organic-looking tangle.

    Paula Schneider on

  • This has always been my go to tangle to fill in open spaces. I love drawing it and it always looks so nice! It’s one of my comfort tangles.

    Leslee Feiwus on

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