Description: Herbs, shrubs or rarely trees; mostly glabrous.
Leaves usually alternate, simple, entire; stipules commonly absent.
Inflorescence axillary, terminal or leaf-opposed, mostly racemes or flowers solitary in the upper axils. Flowers mostly actinomorphic, usually bisexual. Perianth of 4 or 5 free, petaloid segments, persistent. Stamens 3–many, often twice as many as the tepals, hypogynous; anthers 2-locular, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Gynoecium of 1–10, rarely more, superior [rarely inferior] carpels, free or more often ± fused to form a compound ovary, styles usually free and as many as the carpels; ovule 1 per carpel.
Fruit a berry, achene, [nut or drupe].
Distribution and occurrence: World: 5 genera, 32 species, widespread in tropical & warm temperate regions, especially America. Australia: 1 genus, introduced.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Phytolaccaceae, Order: Caryophyllales)
Previously a broader family, including the now segregate Petiveriaceae (as well as several other families not represented in NSW; see APG IV 2016).
Text by G. J. Harden; updated by H. Sauquet (Nov 2020)
Taxon concept: APG IV (2016)
|One genus in NSW: Phytolacca|