Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Phytolaccaceae or Pokeweed Family

The Phytolaccaceae or Pokeweed Family is a small family with approximately 13 plant genera and only 62 species (these numbers vary according to source). The family is made up of herb/forbs, subshrubs, shrubs, trees and vines. They are native mostly to the tropical and subtropical parts of North America and Africa.

Shared characteristics in this family include; leaves alternate, opposite or whorled-like (spiral), simple (not compound), mostly entire and undulate, plants either annual or perennial. The inflorescences are often unbranched racemose and panicles in configuration, flora parts axillary, terminal, usually bisexual, fruits are small often fleshy.

The USDA website contains 7 genera and 15 taxa for Phytolaccaceae in North America. The largest North American genus is Phytolacca with 8 species.

  • Rivina humilis, Rougeplant
  • Date Family Profile Completed: 04/13/2016
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database.
    Nienaber, Mark A. & Thieret, John W., FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 4, 33. Phytolaccaceae R. Brown, Pokeweed Family
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 04/13/2016).
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Pedaliaceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 November 2015, 03:14 UTC,> [accessed 10 April 2016]
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Phytolaccaceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 October 2015, 12:24 UTC,> [accessed 13 April 2016]
    "Phytolaccaceae". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2016