Friday, June 24, 2011

Mixed Blessing

A very handsome plant volunteered at my friend's house this spring. I begged for it to stay and it got more handsome and more interesting as it grew, and grew, and grew. They twit me about "the beanstalk" as it is obviously some kind of weed, and somehow they have humored me until it is about 8' tall. Last week it flowered. This week I can see the little pods forming where the blossoms were and it struck me yesterday what this ugly duckling must be... a pokeweed Phytolacca americana. Um... oops.
The good news is that it is a vegetable (kindof) and makes a stain that can be used for ink, paint or fabric dye. The bad news is that just about every part is poisonous and it will need to be removed from the vegetable garden before the dog starts nibbling it. Maybe that is why she has been so quiet this week?

It must have arrived in the garden via the droppings of the birds that visit the feeder. I will have to spend tomorrow taking it out and having a farewell service. I wonder how to get some seeds...

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