Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

PHYTOLACCACEAE

POKEWEED FAMILY

William J. Stone

Perennial, shrub, tree
Leaves alternate, entire; stipule 0
Inflorescence: raceme or panicle
Flowers bi- or unisexual, radial; calyx generally deeply 4–5-lobed, persistent; petals generally 0; stamens 4–many, free or fused at base, anthers opening by longitudinal slits; pistils 1 and compound or free and simple, ovary generally superior, ovules 1 per pistil or chamber, styles same number as pistils or chambers (or 0), stigmas linear or thread-like
Fruit: berry; chambers generally many
Genera in family: ± 17 genera, 100 species: North America, South America.

PHYTOLACCA

Perennial, tall, stout
Leaves large, petioled, ovate to ovate-lanceolate
Flowers small; sepals 5, petal-like; stamens 5–30; pistil 1 .
Fruit: chambers 5–12
Seed 1 per chamber, vertical
Species in genus: ± 35 species: tropical and subtropical, especially Am
Etymology: (Greek & Latin: plant, crimson lake, from fruit color)

Introduced

P. americana L.

POKEWEED, POKEBERRY, PIGEONBERRY

Plant ill-smelling; roots 10–15 cm, thick, fleshy, carrot-like, white
Stems 1–several from crown, 1–3 m, fleshy, bright purple at maturity
Leaf 8–30 cm, 3–12 cm wide, glabrous; petiole 1–5 cm
Inflorescence: raceme erect to nodding, 5–20 cm; pedicels with bracts
Flower bisexual, 5–6 mm; sepals equal, white or pinkish; stamens 10
Fruit 4–6 mm high, 7–10 mm wide, shiny purplish black
Seed 2.5–3 mm, flat, black
Chromosomes: 2n=36
Ecology: Uncommon. Disturbed areas, gardens, roadsides
Elevation: generally < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: native to e US
P. heterotepala H. Walter (sepals unequal, stamens 13–20) reported from San Francisco, probably not naturalized.

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