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John W. Thieret, final revision by Thomas J. Rosatti

[Annual to] perennial herb [to tree], generally ± glabrous. Leaf: alternate, simple, entire, generally petioled; stipules 0 or vestigial. Inflorescence: spike, raceme [panicle], [axillary or] terminal (then often lateral, ± opposite a leaf, by growth of bud axillary to that leaf); bract 1; bractlets 2. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; sepals [4]5[10], fused at base, generally persistent; petals 0; stamens 4–many, generally on disk, free or fused at base, in 1–2 whorls or not; carpels generally 1–12, [free] to fused, ovary generally superior, carpels = styles, chambers in number, ovules 1 per chamber, stigmas linear or thread-like. Fruit: berry [achene, capsule, drupe, nut, samara].
± 18 genera, 130 species: ± worldwide, especially America tropics, subtropics. [Rogers 1985 J Arnold Arbor 66:1–37] A broad family concept adopted here, as many as 6 segregate families sometimes recognized by others. —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.

Perennial herb [to tree]; axes often ± red to purple. Flower: sepals 5[8], petal-like; stamens generally 5–30; carpels 5–12, ± fused. Fruit: berry, chambers 5–12. Seed: 1 per chamber.
± 25 species: tropics, subtropics, especially America. (Greek, Latin: plant, crimson dye, from fruit color)

Key to Phytolacca

P. heterotepala H. Walter MEXICAN POKEWEED
Plant to 2.5 m. Leaf: blade < 13 cm, 6 cm wide, lanceolate to ovate; petiole to 5 cm. Inflorescence: ± open raceme, < 25 cm; peduncle to 5.5 cm; pedicel 2–5 mm. Flower: sepals unequal (largest ± 2 × smallest in width), 3–4 mm, narrowly to widely elliptic to oblanceolate, white with green ± central area; stamens 12–22, generally in 2 whorls; carpels 8–11, fused. Fruit: 6–7 mm diam, purple-black. Seed: 2–2.5 mm, lenticular, black, shiny.
Disturbed areas; 10–60 m. Central Coast (San Francisco); Mexico; alien in Europe. [Howell 1960 Leafl W Bot 9:81–83] Summer–winter [Online Interchange]

Previous taxon: Phytolacca americana var. americana
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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 29 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Phytolacca, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 29 2015

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click for enlargement Phytolacca heterotepala
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2005 Doreen L. Smith

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Phytolacca heterotepala Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.