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PHYTOLACCACEAE POKEWEED FAMILY

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.

PHYTOLACCA
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
NATURALIZED
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.

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Sep 2 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Phytolacca, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=63756, accessed on Sep 2 2014

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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.
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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.