Around 1955 my mother dug a plant up from an elderly friends yard (house built in 1868) and transplanted it to her yard. She told me they were just growing "all around her yard"---so I don't think they were confined to a flowerbed. The plant comes up in both old and new sites each year without any care on our part. No one seems to know what plant this is, nor have they seen it before. I have shown it to a professional field botanist who specializes in native plants for our area, and he didn't recognize it nor know what it was. I would appreciate your help in finding the name and any other information about this plant. It is really very lovely and quite unique from other plants.
The plant grows straight up (quickly) and is a single stalk with leaves coming out of the stalk. It has reached a height of 15-20 FEET in our yard (taller than roof of house), but that is only if we have had a mild winter and it grows year round. Normally it will grow 6-10 feet in a summer. We live 36 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, so we have mild seasons (hot summers) with lots of rain. The plant will have a cluster of white flowers on the top in late summer/early fall. These flowers have a long neck below the petals. The flowers are followed by a beautiful cluster of red/green/black berry pods on the top. The weight of the berry/pods make the stalks arch over toward the ground.
Thank you for your help---I love a good mystery and hope you may have an answer.