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Uses

Toxic parts

The leaves are poisonous[1]. They are said to be alright to eat when young, the toxins developing as they grow older.

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves - they must be cooked and are used as a spinach[2][3][4][5][6]. Only the young leaves should be used since they become toxic with age. Root - cooked[4][6].

Leaves

Material uses

A red ink is obtained from the fruit[7].

Unknown part

Ink

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The roots contain saponins[8]. They are abortifacient, antiasthmatic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiinflammatory, antiphlogistic, antitussive, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive and purgative[1][5][9][8]. A decoction is used in the treatment of oedema, beri-beri, lumbago, rheumatism, abdominal distension and numbness of the throat[1][9][8]. Use with caution, see the notes above on toxicity[9].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow autumn or spring in a cold frame[10]. 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.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Phytolacca esculenta. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

An easily grown plant, succeeding in most soils[2], though preferring a moisture retentive soil in full sun or partial shade[10]. 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[11].

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[12], whilst others give it specific status[10]. 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[11].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Phytolacca esculenta. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Phytolacca esculenta.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Phytolacca esculenta
Genus
Phytolacca
Family
Phytolaccaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
6
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    1 x meters
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type











    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 ? A Barefoot Doctors Manual. Running Press ISBN 0-914294-92-X ()
    2. ? 2.02.12.2 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation) Smithsonian Institution (1965-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.2 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.3 Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants. ()
    6. ? 6.06.16.2 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.3 Medicinal Plants in the Republic of Korea World Health Organisation, Manila ISBN 92 9061 120 0 (1998-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.3 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.3 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 [Flora of China] (1994-00-00)