Saturday, September 18, 2010


It's poisonous to humans, but the birds love the berries. (Humans can eat the young shoots, which are said to taste like asparagus--they certainly look like them--but not the berries, or the roots and leaves. Or so I was told, growing up.)

The birds are the reason I let this plant grow up to block the kitchen steps. (I don't go out that way often; the kitchen door is parallel to the living room door. The laundry room door is the "mud room" entrance.)

The beautiful purple stems are about the color of the ink you can make from the berries. I experimented with this as a child, once I acquired a quill pen. The dye is permanent. (Which is why I don't go out the kitchen door right now.)

Once the berries finish turning from green to purple-black, the birds will finish them off. They're getting started. These, on the other side of the house, are quite ripe.

I think you can see the little bare stems where the birds have pulled the berries off. I can see a few in this picture, but I know what I'm looking for.

It all means fall is coming, and I dread the return of cold weather, but I always find fall beautiful.


  1. Very pretty for a weed and very nice of you to let it grow for the birds.

    I don't look forward to winter either :(

  2. What with it being 97F this afternoon, I'm finding it hard even to believe in winter.