Found within a tangled mass of other weeds at the roadside edge of a west Auckland garden, this inkweed plant had grown undisturbed for a year or more. Just finished flowering and the inky berries starting to form on the stems.
Originally from tropical South & Central America. It is a soft-wooded, bushy and leafy perennial shrub that grows up to 2 metres tall. The leaves are narrow-oval and are alternate and light green when young, but occasionally turn reddish in autumn. From November to August dense, erect, cylindrical flower clusters (up to 7 cm long) turning from green to pink are produced along the main stem, followed by succulent, purple-black berries (8 mm in diameter) with dark red juice containing seeds. In sheltered frost free locations, inkweed may survive for a number of years and reach a diameter of 2-3 metres or more. (T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network)