Phytolacca octandra (Phytolaccaceae)

Phytolacca octandra DSC_0565 (2)

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.

Phytolacca octandra DSC_0565 (8)
Freshly open flowers

Phytolacca octandra DSC_0565 (7)
The flowers appear to mature red.

Phytolacca octandra DSC_0565 (5)
Fleshy fruits with five to eight sections.


About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
This entry was posted in Lifeform - Herbs, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Non-Natives, Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed family) and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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