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Phytolacca decandra


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Family Phytolaccaceae

Herbs or shrubs , rarely trees , erect , rarely scandent , mostly glabrous , rarely dioecious. Leaves simple , alternate, entire; stipules absent or tiny. Inflorescences terminal , axillary , or leaf-opposed, racemose, cymose , panicled , or spicate . Flowers small, bisexual or rarely unisexual , actinomorphic , rarely zygomorphic. Tepals 4 or 5, persistent , free or connate at base , equal or unequal, imbricate in bud, green or sometimes other colored . Stamens 4 to many, inserted on a fleshy disk; filaments usually persistent, free or slightly connate at base; anthers 2-loculed, dorsifixed , longitudinally dehiscent . Ovary superior, globose ; carpels 1 to many, free or connate; ovule solitary in each carpel, basal, campylotropous. Styles persistent, short or absent, erect or curved , as many as carpels. Fruit fleshy, a berry or drupe, rarely a capsule. Seeds reniform or oblate , small; testa membranous or hard and fragile, smooth or wrinkly; embryo large, curved, surrounding copious mealy endosperm.

Seventeen genera and ca. 70 species: widespread in tropical and temperate regions , especially in the neotropics and S Africa; two genera (one introduced ) and five species (one endemic, two introduced) in China.[1]

Genus Phytolacca

Herbs [shrubs or trees ], perennial . Leaves alternate. Inflorescences axillary , terminal , or leaf-opposed racemes or spikes, 5-100-flowered, proximalmost pedicels sometimes bearing more than 1 flower. Flowers: sepals 5-8; stamens (7-) 8-25(-30), sometimes in 1-2 whorls; carpels 6-12(-30), distinct or connate at least proximally; if connate, ovary 6-12-loculed; style and stigma 1 per carpel. Fruits either oblate berries , style persisting in ring at apex, or group of lenticular achenes. Seeds 6-12(-30) per berry or 1 per achene.

Species ca. 25: North America, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, Eurasia , Africa, Pacific Islands, Australia.[2]


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Publishing author : L. Publication : Sp. Pl., ed. 2. 1: 631 1762 [Sep 1762]

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Phytolacca

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 17 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

P. americana (American Pokeweed) · P. americana var. americana (American Pokeweed) · P. americana var. lancifolia (Virginia Poke) · P. americana var. rigida (American Pokeweed) · P. americana 'Silberstein' (Speckled Poke) · P. americana 'Variegata' (Variegated American Pokeweed) · P. bogotensis (Pokeweed) · P. decandra var. americana (Pokeweeds) · P. dioica (Beautiful Shade) · P. dioica x weberbaueri (Ombu Tree) · P. dodecandra (Pokeweed) · P. heteropetala (Mexican Pokeweed) · P. icosandra (Phytolacca) · P. octandra (Himalayan Pokeweed) · P. polyandra (Batal) · P. rivinoides (Venezuelan Pokeweed) · P. sandwicensis (Hawai'i Pokeweed)

More Info

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Further Reading

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  1. Dequan Lu & Kai Larsen "Phytolaccaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 5 Page 435. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. "Phytolacca". in Flora of North America Vol. 4 Page 3, 4, 6. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
Last Revised: 2014-05-13