Saturday, September 22, 2012

it's a birdfeeder!

American pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Still at home recuperating, watching the world from my deck.

Call me crazy. Say I’m lost in left field. Say some checkers have fallen off my board, the par has gone from my cheesi but American pokeweed makes a wonderful addition to your backyard landscaping.

Yes, I know most people think of it as a weed and yank it up in the spring or cook its tender young leaves before they develop their mid-life toxicity—and yes, most parts of the plant are toxic to humans so if you have young children I'd avoid it—but this time of the year it’s decked out in autumnal splendor: yellow leaves, bright magenta stems and, if that weren’t enough, burgundy berries the color of red wine festoon off the plant like holiday decorations.

Nurtured and loved, it can grow to a height of ten feet and simply become a stunningly beautiful plant.

Plus, birds love the berries. Love. Love. Love. The other day I watched a normally secretive gray catbird, present itself and eat as many berries as it could gobble down. The merlot-colored fruits are also eaten by cardinals, thrashers and mockingbirds.

So, if you get my drift, don’t think of it as a weed; it’s a colorful birdfeeder!

Gray catbird

1 comment:

Marie said...

I have always loved pokeweed. Born in Alabama...can't help it! :-)