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Plant writings, gardening thoughts & observations of Paul Hervey - Brookes, Award Winning Garden Designer & Plantsman.
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Tuesday, 19 May 2009


I am currently a bit too interested in Pokeweeds or to use their proper name Phytolacca. My interest started with the American species and has grown from there although I don't like P. americana 'Silberspinne' in my opinion its foul looking rather more diseased than variegated. This year I was lucky enough to source through a friend in Europe a whole host of exciting Phytolacca species including P. acinosa, P. bogotensis, P. chilensis and most excitingly due to its rarity P. insularis. I know in its native Korea P. insularis is very endangered and rest assured the seed I was given has come from a garden plant and not wild collected seed. The fantastic difference from a gardening point of view with the korean pokeweed is that instead of plump purple cone like flowers it has clear green-white flowers which are in turn followed by the alluring black/purple berry like seeds. I have 13 (lucky for me I hope) in 10-cm pots and hopefully along with the other Phytolacca, which all make impressive large back of border hardy herbaceous perennials , we will be able to steadily increase and offer for sale (a tiny amount this year) through our nursery. I am quite excited about them. I saw a stunning P. americana at the Bishops Palace in Wells last summer and I think they are a much needed larger perennial. The picture is the flower of Phytolacca insularis.


Anonymous said...

I was stationed at Kunsan AB in the late 80's, and was attending a squadron picnic at a nearby lake. Outside of the picnic pavilion was a very large stand of Korean pokeweed, and this country boy proceeded to harvest young shoots to cook, much to the distress of Korean coworkers! It was delicious, just as much as the American variety. I later found edible pokeweed growing in Japan as well.

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