Directory       News       Site Map       Home
    Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Key to families | Table of families and genera

Previous taxon Indexes to all accepted names and synonyms:
| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
Previous taxon


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. americana L. var. americana POKEWEED
Plant to 3(7) m. Leaf: blade 8–35 cm, 3–18 cm wide, lanceolate to ovate; petiole 1–6 cm. Inflorescence: ± open raceme, spreading to generally drooping, (10)12–30 cm; peduncle to 15 cm; pedicel 3–13 mm. Flower: sepals ± equal, 2.5–3.3 mm, ovate to ± round, ± white to ± pink; stamens 10, generally in 1 whorl; carpels 6–12, fused at least in basal 1/2. Fruit: 6–11 mm diam, purple-black. Seed: 2.5–3 mm, lenticular, black, shiny.
2n=36. Uncommon. Disturbed areas, roadsides; generally < 1000 m. California Floristic Province; native to eastern United States. Summer–fall {Weed listed by Cal-IPC} [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: Intermediates in eastern United States between Phytolacca americana L. var. americana — pedicels in fruit > 6 mm, > fruit; inflorescence spreading to generally drooping, (10)12–30 cm; widespread, including California — and Phytolacca americana L. var. rigida (Small) Caulkins & R.W. Wyatt — pedicels in fruit < 6(7) mm, < fruit; inflorescence erect, 6–9(13.5) cm; Virginia to Texas; various plant parts sources of dye, food, medicine, yet poisonous to humans, other animals when ingested without careful, experienced preparation.

Previous taxon: Phytolacca
Next taxon: Phytolacca heterotepala


Name search

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 25 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Phytolacca, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 25 2015

Copyright © 2014 Regents of the University of California
We encourage links to these pages, but the content may not be downloaded for reposting, repackaging, redistributing, or sale in any form, without written permission from The Jepson Herbarium.

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Phytolacca americana var. americana 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).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records


CCH collections by month

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