- Chinese Poke Weed
- Ink Berry
Location in the Gardens:
- Throughout the Gardens
Season of interest:
- This plant creates a striking feature with its upright spikes of pink flowers in mid-summer, closely followed by packed clusters of black berries.
- The leaves turn golden yellow in the autumn
Description of plant:
Phytolacca polyandra is an erect, bushy, deciduous perennial with red mature stems bearing ovate to elliptic, mid-green leaves turning yellow in autumn, and compact, erect racemes of purple-pink flowers in late summer followed by glossy, black fruit.
Ideal growing conditions and habitat:
Grow in fertile moist well drained soil in sun or partial shade. Readily self sows and may become invasive. Tolerates most soils..
Country of origin:
Other interesting information:
The juice has been used as a substitute for red ink and also as a red dye for many purposes.
The name 'Phytolacca' comes from the Greek 'Python' - plant; and the Latin 'Lacca' - red dye.
The word 'Poke' comes from the Indian word 'Pakon' meaning staining or dyeing.