Backyard Gold

Looking absolutely divine in the garden this week is our 2011 introduction of a Robert Hughes discovery, Phytolacca americana ‘Sunny Side Up’. This vigorous native (Maine west to Texas), known by the common name, poke salad, typically has green foliage, followed by a huge array of pendent purple fruit in late summer. While most folks decry the green form as a garden weed, European garden designers hold it in high regard. We think the gold leaf form adds a whole new dimension of native beauty to the sun garden, as long as its properly maintained. For us, that means removing the fruit before it drops. Hardiness is Zone 5a-8b.

Phytolacca americana ‘Sunny Side Up’

4 thoughts on “Backyard Gold”

  1. Maryann Witalec Keyes

    I’ve never seen the golden form and I’d consider it for my garden. However, I’ve heard that the seed is deadly poison. Is that correct?
    Thanks for you help.

    1. Yes, the foliage of phytolacca is poisonous when eaten raw, but it has also long been a staple of early foragers in the Southeast US who learned how to cook it properly. In the old south, it’s known as poke salad or poke sallet. By the way, the foliage of both tomatoes and potatoes are also quite toxic, so don’t eat those either.

  2. We saw this at the latest open house, and my husband wanted to buy one, but were were told by a Nursery worker that they’re not yet for sale. When will they be?

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