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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 4 | Phytolaccaceae | Phytolacca

4. Phytolacca heterotepala H. Walter in H. G. A. Engler, Pflanzenr. 83[IV,39]: 51. 1909.

Mexican pokeweed

Plants to 2.5 m. Leaves: petiole to 5 cm; blade lanceolate to ovate, to 13 × 6 cm, base obtuse, apex acute to acute-mucronate. Ra-cemes open, mostly axillary, to 25 cm; peduncle to 5.5 cm; pedicel 2-5 mm. Flowers: sepals 5(-8), greenish, oblong, strikingly unequal, largest ca. twice as wide as smallest, 3-4 × 1.5-2.2 mm; stamens 15-22, usually in 2 whorls; carpels 8-11, connate; ovary 8-11-loculed. Berries purple-black, 6-7 mm diam. Seeds black, lenticular, 2-2.5 mm, shiny.

Flowering summer-winter. Disturbed ground; 10-60 m; introduced; Calif.; Mexico; introduced in Europe.

Phytolacca heterotepala was first reported in the flora area by J. T. Howell (1960) on the basis of California (San Francisco) collections. Its current status in the flora is uncertain; J. C. Hickman (1993) recorded it as "probably not naturalized." The few specimens we have seen possess in greater-or-lesser degree those features cited by H. P. H. Walter (1909) in his description of this taxon. The sepals are strikingly unequal, the largest being up to twice as wide as the smallest, and the stamens appearing to be in two whorls. The status of the species itself is in need of further investigation.


Howell, J. T. 1960. A Mexican pokeberry in San Francisco, California. Leafl. W. Bot. 9: 81-83.


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