Showing posts from December, 2020

Poke, An Introduction

When we were at the Niagara Dufferin Island Nature Area in 2008, we gathered some Poke ( Phytolacca americana ) seeds to see how they would fare with climate change in Bishops Mills. This is a spectacular metres-high perennial broad-leaved herb, which produces spring shoots which used, before they were shown to contain a carcinogen, to be eaten in the spring as a North American analog of Asparagus. By 2011, the one surviving plant of a few initial seedlings was 2.5 m tall, and bearing fruit. The local Birds seemingly didn't need an introduction to the berries of this species, and take them as soon as they turn dark, likely contributing to the purple bird-splats that were on the pavement in front of the houses. In October 2013, something, either the winter or the previous summer's drought, had almost killed the plant, which was only 1 m high, with the first flowers opening. In 2014, though, it was huge, with 10 stems as much as 2.6 m tall. It continued until 2017, when there was