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Phytolacca americana var. rigida is often confused with:
Phytolacca americana Phytolacca americana
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Smilax herbacea Flowers
Phytolacca americana Phytolacca americana
Morus rubra Morus rubra

Inkberry Phytolacca americana var. rigida

Other plants called Inkberry:

Previously known as:

  • Phytolacca rigida
Phonetic Spelling
fy-toh-LAK-ah a-mer-ih-KAY-nah
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 variety differs from P. americana by having shorter, erect fruiting stems. 

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

 

More information on Phytolacca americana.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#drought tolerant#edible plant#weed#weedy#coastal#NC native#dye plant#native garden#edible fruits#black fruits#purple fruits#humidity tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#drought tolerant#edible plant#weed#weedy#coastal#NC native#dye plant#native garden#edible fruits#black fruits#purple fruits#humidity tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Phytolacca
    Species:
    americana
    Family:
    Phytolaccaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Various parts of the plant are used for dye.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    United States
    Distribution:
    Only along the North Carolina seacoast.
    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:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    Dark purple-black berry composed of 5-12 segments fused in a ring, on an erect stem (stems shorter than those on P. americana). Seeds are shiny, black and lenticular.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Black
    Green
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Racemes, linear clusters with each small flower on a short stem appears spring-fall sometimes year-round. Flowers have 5 petals are whiteish pink with black centers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    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:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Humidity
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN! Burning of mouth and throat, salivation, severe stomach irritation, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, spasms, and 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