Phytolacca octandra is a very descriptively named soft-stemmed shrub or herb by Linnaeas (Greek: “phyton” meaning plant; Neo-Latin: “lacca” meaning lacquer, alluding to the red dye of the berries). The common name Inkweed is also an allusion to the red inky juice in the ripe berries. The specific epithet “octandra” refers to the eight sections of the fruit.
This soft leaved weedy shrub is a native of tropical America but in Australia is found widely from the tropics to temperate regions. In tropical rainforest, it is found in road clearing or rainforest gaps.
The berries look enticing but are known to be poisonous.