Phytolacca, American Nightshade

[ Phytolacca, American Nightshade ] Dr. William James Almon

Contributors
Contributor Role
Compiler
Contributor Name
Dr. William James Almon

Date: Circa 1735.

Publication Format
Manuscript

Type
Agriculture
Medicine

Ingredients
phytolacca
American nightshade
phytolacca Americana
Virginian poke
porke physic
Mexican phytolacca
nightshade

Places
America
Virginia
New England
Maryland
Mexico
Halifax
Nova Scotia
Chelsea
London
England

Source: Manuscript Notebook of Dr. William James Almon
Institution: Nova Scotia Archives | Source Origin: Almon Family Fonds | Reference: MG 1 / Microfilm Reel 10,045

Description

A description of American and Mexican nightshade, including the latter's usefulness as a purgative, pp. 22-23. Though largely identical to an entry of the same title that appears under "Ph" in The Gardener's Dictionary Vol. 2 (London, 1735) the Almon text also includes details that do not appear in the abridged publication; it is thus more likely transcribed from the original folio by Philip Miller. Identifying Miller in the later version as "Gardener to the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries, at their Botanick-Garden, in Chelsea," the Dictionary's subtitle points also to "Methods of Cultivating and Improving" the "Physick Garden" as well as those of "Kitchen, Fruit and Flower."


Images
Transcription

Phytolacca

Phytolacca, American Nightshade.

The characters are; -
The Flowers consists of several leaves,
which are placed in a circular order,
and expand in form of a Rose; out of
whose centre rises the Pointal, which
afterward becomes a soft Fruit, or al=
=most globular berry full of seeds,
placed orbicularly: to which should be
added. That the Flowers and Fruit are
Produced on a branch like Currans. _
1.The Species are Phytolacca Americana,
American Nightshade, with large Fruit,
Commonly call’d Virginian Poke or
Porke Physic. -
2. Mexican Phytolacca whose Berries
grow close to the Stalk. -
The first of these plants is verry
common in Virginia, New England,
and Maryland, where the Inhabitants
take a spoon-ful or two of the Juice
of the Root as a Familiar Purge.
The Berries thereof are ful of a
purple Juice which gives a fine
Tincture to paper, from whence
it hath the Name: this will not

abide long but fades in short time therefore
if there could be a Method found to
fix the Colour: it might be of con=
siderable Use, for it is one of the
most beautiful purple Dyes
yet known. --
It may be propagated by sowing the seeds in the spring
upon a bed of light rich earth; and when the plants
come up, they should be transplanted into the borders
of large Gardens, allowing them space for to grow; for
they must not be planted too near other plants, least
they overbear and destroy them; for they grow to be very
large especially if the soil be good. ~

Annotations
Porke
Appears also in The Gardener's Dictionary, likely in error. "Poke" seems intended here.