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Phytolacca esculenta - Van Houtte.

Common Name
Family Phytolaccaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards The leaves are poisonous[147]. They are said to be alright to eat when young, the toxins developing as they grow older.
Habitats Valleys, hillsides, forest understories, forest margins and roadsides at elevations of 500 - 3400 metres[266]. It is also found in cultivated land houses, moist fertile lands and as a weed[266].
Range E. Asia - China.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Phytolacca esculenta


www.flickr.com/photos/foliosus
Phytolacca esculenta
www.flickr.com/photos/foliosus

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Phytolacca esculenta is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

P. acinosa esculenta. P. kaempferi.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - they must be cooked and are used as a spinach[1, 58, 105, 174, 183]. Only the young leaves should be used since they become toxic with age. Root - cooked[105, 183].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Abortifacient;  Antiasthmatic;  Antibacterial;  Antifungal;  Antiinflammatory;  Antiphlogistic;  Antitussive;  Diuretic;  
Expectorant;  Hypotensive;  Purgative.

The roots contain saponins[279]. They are abortifacient, antiasthmatic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiinflammatory, antiphlogistic, antitussive, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive and purgative[147, 174, 176, 279]. A decoction is used in the treatment of oedema, beri-beri, lumbago, rheumatism, abdominal distension and numbness of the throat[147, 176, 279]. Use with caution, see the notes above on toxicity[176].

Other Uses

Ink.

A red ink is obtained from the fruit[57].

Cultivation details

An easily grown plant, succeeding in most soils[1], though preferring a moisture retentive soil in full sun or partial shade[200]. We have found the plants to be very tolerant of drought[K]. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn[233]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. There is sme disagreement over the correct name for this species with some authorities saying that it is no more than a synonym for P. acinosa[266], whilst others give it specific status[200]. There are reports that there is a white flowered plant, which could either be this species or a form of P. acinosa which is said to be non-toxic and to have an edible root[K]. See P. acinosa for more details. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233].

Propagation

Seed - sow autumn or spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it might be worthwhile trying an outdoor sowing in a seed bed in early spring. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for their first year and plant them out the following spring. Division in March or October. Use a sharp spade or knife to divide the rootstock, making sure that each section has at least one growth bud. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Petiveria alliaceaGuinea Hen Weed04
Phytolacca acinosaIndian Poke23
Phytolacca americanaPokeweed, American pokeweed, Garnet, Pigeon Berry, Poke33
Phytolacca dioicaBella Sombra20
Phytolacca dodecandraEndod, Pokeberry23

 

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Expert comment

Author

Van Houtte.

Botanical References

200266

Links / References

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Subject : Phytolacca esculenta  
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