Commonly found in nature reserves, these fast-growing perennials contain deadly toxins heavily concentrated in the fruits and roots. The bright red stems easily stand out among other foliage, highlighting colonies of these.
Phytolacca americana (American Pokeweed)
Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Height: 3-7 meters (10-23 feet) tall
Diameter: likely to 1meter (3 feet wide)
Growth Rate: fast
Root System: toxic
Subspecies: var. rigida
Tolerates: herbivores (deer)
Problems (major): The entire plant is highly toxic.
Problems (minor): none
Poisonous: Eating any part of the plant, especially the berries and roots, can cause severe ailments and possibly death. The fruits in particular contain the toxins Phytolaccatoxin, triterpene saponins, the alkaloid phytolaccin, and various histomines. New growth, untouched by pesticides, is edible is cooked thoroughly without the use of soap. Do not try to cook and eat these without the help of a specialist.
Soil requirements: prefers moist soils, grows in light/sandy and loamy/medium and clay/heavy soils of most acidities
Air requirements: not sufficiently researched
Watering requirement: moderate
Sun requirement: grows commonly in partial shade
Leaf shape: lanceolate
Leaf size: petioles to 6 centimeters (2 inches) long, lamina to 35 by 18 centimeters (14 by 7 inches)
Stem: erect, green or red or purple
Flower structure: 5 sepals and petals, white-green
Flowering frequency: August to September
Fruit: dark purple berry, deep green when immature
The stems range from green to purple to a very bright red. These can form colonies in wooded areas. The berries, once thoroughly and properly cooked, are sometimes used in pies.
New shoots may be edible if properly cooked.
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