Daily Flower Candy: Phytolacca polyandra


One of the joys of writing this blog is having the incentive to seek out and learn about new plants. Today, on a training course at our company conference centre, I took some time out to explore the grounds. In the otherwise flagging herbaceous borders I spied these curious fruits and lush leaves, which belonged to a helpfully labelled specimen of Phytolacca polyandra.

Phytolacca polyandra, Odney Club, August 2014

Otherwise known as Chinese pokeweed, Phytolacca polyandra is a robust perennial which first produces white or pale pink flowers in long spikes, a little like a polygonum. These develop into tiny clasps of immature green fruits. The flower stems slowly turn magenta-pink as the fruits, which are toxic, develop a glossy black sheen. How marvellous this exotic plant would look amongst deep purple and pale pink dahlias, or with Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ and Fuchsia arboresecens. An unusual contender for the late summer border and one which has already joined my extensive wish list.

Have you grown Chinese pokeweed in your garden? If so, I’d love to know more…

Phytolacca polyandra, Odney Club, August 2014