Can someone identify this plant / berry / weed

Unfortunately I was too stupit to take any pictures, because at the time my wife's goal was just for me to *get rid of it!*, but it has puzzled us ever since what this plant might have been. So I'm wondering if anyone can take a guess at the identification based on my description, and then I can Google for pictures to see if anything suggested is a match.
We live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in USDA zone 8a (+10 to +15 degrees F). The plant was growing close to the west wall of our house, with a large tree about twenty feet farther west, so it was in shade most of the day but with an hour or two of full sun right around mid-day. I don't remember watering much or at all, yet it survived our characteristically drought-like summer (it rains very little here in June-August), so it could be a native.
The first year we lived in the house, this nice little plant came up under one of the dining room windows. We weren't sure if it was a weed or part of the garden, so we let it grow to see if it would bloom or what else it might do, and what it would look like. The first year it was very well-behaved and got only about a foot or so tall. Hmmm...
Okay, so the second year comes around. Oh. My. God. That thing sprang up like some kind of alien invasion and soon formed a plant about eight feet tall and nearly as wide. It had large leaves about 8" long and from memory they were football-shaped (American football). The stems were smooth, red, and quite showy, almost like rhubarb stems. They were not woody, and as I recall they were hollow when I eventually slaughtered the thing. The leaves were quite sparse. It branched in a crazy 3-D manner (i.e. was not just a bunch of canes coming up from a single spot on the ground), which gave it an interesting appearance. It produced tiny white flowers in great profusion, which then produced a large crop of very dark blue berries about the size of peas or a little smaller. My wife remembers these being arranged as a row of berries hanging off each side of a central stem.
The problem with this unknown denizen of our happy valley is that the following year, new seedlings of this thing came up by the *bazillions*. (Hence the mother ship had to go.) It's now several years since I've removed it, and still occasional seedlings sprout that we recognize as "the alien weed." Someone down the street from us still has one of these out in the parking strip in front of her house, but unfortunately she doesn't know what it is either. Like ours, hers just sprouted one year.
Anyone got any guesses?
Kevin Cherkauer Utopia in Decay http://home.comcast.net/~kevin.cherkauer/site/?/blog /
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Kevin Cherkauer said:

Phytolacca americana?
--

Eggs

-There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.
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I agree, Eggs. aka American Pokeweed. It would be pretty if it didn't take over the world! Emilie NorCal
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Thank you! American pokeweed aka Phytolacca americana indeed looks like it was the creature we had. And you were able to ID it even though we remembered some of the details wrong (e.g. berries are not alternating, but radiating in all directions, and they were more dark purple, nearly black, than dark blue, now that the pictures hav jogged my memory)!
These pokeweed pix look like our weed exactly (though ours looked a lot healthier than the first one below):
http://www.terrierman.com/goldfinchonpokeweed.jpg
http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/pokeweed.htm http://www.tela-botanica.org/sites/parlons_bota/fr/images/syntheses/Phytolac ca/photo2.jpg
I did think it was quite pretty, but it had an awful spreading problem. :-) It also had already gotten too big for the spot it was in by the second year.
Kevin Cherkauer Utopia in Decay http://home.comcast.net/~kevin.cherkauer/site/?/blog /
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Kevin Cherkauer;794291 Wrote: > Unfortunately I was too stupit to take any pictures, because at the time > my

> ever

> take a

> Google

> with

> the

> characteristically

> could

> under

> part of

> might

> well-behaved and

> up

> feet

> memory

> red,

> I

> leaves

> a

> it an

> profusion,

> size of

> row of

> *bazillions*.

> removed

> alien

> the

> what

??Japanese knotweed http://tinyurl.com/5f3phn
--
beccabunga


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