Pokeweed and Bloodberry Family

Trees, shrubs, or perennial herbs, occasionally woody climbers. Leaves alternate, simple, entire; stipules absent or very small. Flowers mostly bisexual, small, radially symmetrical in terminal or axillary clusters, if unisexual then both sexes on the same plant, radially symmetric. Perianth of 4-5 petal-like segments, mostly free. Stamens as many as segments or more, occasionally fused at the base. Carpels 1-many, free or united. Ovary generally superior, each chamber with 1 ovule; styles as many as the carpels. Fruit a nut, capsule or fleshy berry.

The most closest related family is probably Nyctaginaceae.

Many medicinal uses, mostly as root extracts. A red dye is obtained from Rivina and the leaves of Phytolacca are edible and sometimes eaten as a vegetable like cabbage.

Petals absent, sepals petal-like; fruit of cultivated species a fleshy berry with coloured juice.

About 18 genera and 65 species mostly subtropical and warm temperate with most species from America and Africa (Australia has 3 genera with 5 species).

Nowicke (1968-69).

Source: Spencer, R. (1997). Phytolaccaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Caryophyllanae
order      Caryophyllales
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
genus        Phytolacca L.