Phytolacca polyandra

Phytolacca polyandra (340)

Common names:

  • 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:

  • Asia

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.

Back to top