It's low and wide-spread, maybe three feet across this first year.
Variegated leaves that were much more vivid lime/yellow than in this
fall snapshot, and the berries were preceded by small white flowers.
It's grown immensely this first year, maybe quadrupled in size. I never
thought that I'd be the sort of person who (apparently) planted
something and then completely lost track of what it was, but middle-age
is having its way with me.
Are you sure you planted this? The common non-variegated variety, AKA poke
weed, is a nuisance in my garden. I am on constant vigilance trying to
prevent it from taking hold. It tends to appear in disturbed soils at the
margins of woodlands and in meadows. Wildlife eat the berries and distribute
the seeds. All parts are poisons if ingested by humans and livestock
except for the very young shoots which can be eaten if they are boiled and
the water is changed two or three times. It can be difficult to control as
it forms substantial tap roots that are hard to remove. Pieces of the root
that are left behind will generate a new plant. Unless the plant is some
sterile hybrid, I would be afraid to let the fruit mature for fear of it
popping up elsewhere.
I'd be relieved if I didn't plant it; I'd like to think I'm not
slipping so much that I have no idea what I've planted in my garden. It
might have been a volunteer, although I am in an inner-city area. It
established itself quite well in a short time, so your warning will be
Thanks for the ID.
The stuff pops up here and there. I have gotten it substantially under
control by preventing it from going to seed. I also keep the shoots cut off
as they emerge. Eventually it dies. I'm sure the birds bring in more seeds
and that keep it coming back. I have a wooded ravine adjacent to my property
as I did where I lived previously. Both areas had the common variety of
pokeweed. It has its charms, but I'm afraid that I would be overrun with
the stuff if I didn't keep after it.
It is possible that someone in your area planted the variegated version and
that it volunteered in your yard. After I posted last time I did a search
and found that it is available from places like Plant Delights. The ad copy
says that "most of the seedlings will be variegated." Therefore it DOES
self-seed. Variegated plants are often not as vigorous as the plain
versions. Still, from what you describe, it has grown very fast. If you do
a search on "Pokeweed control" you will see that it isn't the easiest thing
to get rid of.
You can see information on human poisoning here:
There is probably very little danger of poising, but it never hurts to know
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