Monday, August 24, 2009

AMERICAN POKEWEED RETURNS

It has been at least three years since I had an American pokeweed, Phytolacca americana, show up in my garden. The first time I had one I was just fascinated by the fruits, how they formed and the beautiful deep purple color they turned in the fall. Then I found out how invasive it was. The mockingbird came every day to feast on the berries and then poop purple all over the patio. Enough of that! Out it came and from then on every time a shoot appeared in the garden I yanked it out. 
Wily little things. Wait until she goes away and then pop up where she won't see us at the back of the bed. They forgot about the window in the wall. This morning I saw the plant and was once again bewitched by the drooping racemes. I might just let it stay for a little while, at least until I catch sight of a mockingbird.
The word pokeweed comes from the Algonquin Indian words "pakon" or "puccoon" which both mean dye plant. Once the dye from the ripe berries was used for red ink and for coloring pale wines. The latter rather strange as the plant is quite poisonous. Not to the mockingbird it seems.

5 comments:

  1. Yes, I fight this plant too. I wouldn't mind it growing where I want it to but it insists on growing where it wants to.

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  2. I remember when Plant Delights was selling variegated Pokeweed. lol No thanks!

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  3. I looked a t Dave's garden and several people were wanting the seeds. That really surprised me. It is a fun plant and looks very attractive when the berries turn. I have managed to control it except for this sneaky one.

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  4. Do you eat yours? My Grand parents ate it so they always had some growing somewhere. I tried it once and that was enough for me.

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  5. No thank you! I did see that it could be eaten and is sold in cans. I wonder if HEB carries it.

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