Alien plant appeared in Croatian garden

donald haarmann donald-haarmann at
Tue Sep 8 12:08:07 EST 1998

Henk Veldman wrote in message
+AD4-Phytolacca americana+ADs- Pokeweed
+AD4-The roots are the source of pokeweed mitogen or pokeweed agglutinin,
+AD4-used in some tissue culture techniques.
+AD4-The plant was introduced from America and is now quite widespread in
+AD4-western Europe, in gardens and parks, the seeds being dispersed by birds
+AD4-like blackbirds that eat the fruits and in doing so produce terrible
+AD4-deep purple fecal stains around the house and on cars etc.
+AD4-I never heard that people eat the fruits (and I did not taste them). It
+AD4-is said that the young shoots are edible as a vegetable.
+AD4-The dutch name (karmozijnbes) translates as crimson berry and I think
+AD4-the berries were indeed used for dyeing.

The berries were used as a dye by the aboriginal peoples of Canada and
the at Plymouth colony. In colonial New England they were used as black ink.
Because the dye is not fast to sunlight and turns brown it found use as a reddish
stain for basket materials.


Dye Plants and Dying -- A Handbook
Plants and Gardens, Vol. 20, No. 3 1964

Natural Plant Dying -- A Handbook
Plants and Gardens, Vol. 29, No. 2 1973
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Brooklyn, N.Y.

donald j haarmann
It provokes the desire but it takes away the performance.
Therefore much drink may be said to be an equivocator 
with lechery: It makes him and it mars him+ADs- it sets him on
and it takes him off.
                                                William Shakespeare

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