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Phytolacca americana, P. rigida

This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

A large, smooth, branching herb from a large, perennial rootstock with green, red, or purple stems.   Leaves are alternate and simple; flowers white, on a long stem, more or less erect.  The fruit is a dark purple berry composed of 5-12 segments fused in a ring, the stem drooping.  This cultivar differs from P. Americana by having shorter, erect fruiting stems.  Poisonous if eaten.

EDIBLE PARTS: Young tender leaves eaten only as thoroughly cooked greens (in two waters). Cooked berries are safe for making pies.

CAUTION: Berries, roots and mature plants are poisonous, therefore, only use as new, young growth. Also, any red-tinged plant material should be discarded. To avoid possibly collecting part of the toxic root, do not cut below ground level. HARVEST: Only collect young shoots from areas you know have NOT been treated with pesticides. Collect in early spring. SAFE HANDLING PROCEDURES: Wash young shoots thoroughly with warm water. Do not use dish detergent or any type of sanitizer. These products can leave a residue. Peel and parboil tender young shoots (less than eight inches) in two changes of water several minutes each. Boil in a third water until tender and serve like asparagus. Young stalks less than one foot tall, with leaves removed, and before red-tinged, can be cut and rolled in cornmeal and fried like okra. They can also be pickled. Young leaves taken from stalks less than one foot tall can be parboiled in two changes of water for several minutes each and boiled in a third water until tender. To freeze, parboil leaves twice, cook, pat dry and place them in plastic bags.

Typically found in forests or natural areas.  Can be weedy in disturbed areas, in fields, fence rows, low grounds, clearings, waste places or roadsides.

 

More information on Phytolacca americana.

Cultivars:
Tags:
#poisonous#edible plant#native plants#weed#coastal#edible fruits
Cultivars:
Tags:
#poisonous#edible plant#native plants#weed#coastal#edible fruits
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Phytolacca
    Species:
    rigida
    Family:
    Phytolaccaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    United States
    Distribution:
    Only along the North Carolina seacoast
    Wildlife Value:
    Poisonous to wildlife
    Edibility:
    Young tender leaves may be eaten only as thoroughly cooked greens (in two waters). Cooked berries are safe for making pies. CAUTION: Berries, roots and mature plants are poisonous. Thus only new, young growth should be used in cooking and baking. Any red-tinged plant material should be discarded. To avoid collecting any part of the toxic root, do not cut below ground level. HARVEST: Collect only young shoots from areas you know have NOT been treated with pesticides. Collect in early spring. SAFE HANDLING PROCEDURES: Wash young shoots thoroughly with warm water. Do not use dish detergent or any type of sanitizer. These products can leave a residue. Peel and parboil tender young shoots (less than eight inches) in two changes of water several minutes each. Boil in a third water until tender and serve like asparagus. Young stalks less than one foot tall (with leaves removed and before red-tinged) can be cut and rolled in cornmeal and fried like okra. They can also be pickled. Young leaves taken from stalks less than one foot tall can be parboiled in two changes of water for several minutes each and boiled in a third water until tender. To freeze, parboil leaves twice, cook, pat dry and place them in plastic bags.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    NC Region:
    Coastal
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    dark purple berry composed of 5-12 segments fused in a ring, on an erect stem (stems shorter than those on P. americana)
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Racemes, linear clusters with each flower on a short stem.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Thin leaves, green on top, lighter below. Tapered at both ends.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Pinkish-red, smooth and partially hollow stem is rigid to flexible, not strong.
  • Landscape:
    Problems:
    Poisonous
    Weedy
  • Poison:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Burning of mouth and throat, salivation, severe stomach irritation, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, spasms, convulsions; can be fatal
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Phytolaccatoxin and related triterpene saponins, an alkaloid (phytolaccin), and histamines
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Stems