by Stephen Mifsud
   28 Feb 2021      ()
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Phytolacca americana   (American Pokeweed)

Phytolacca americana  (PHYTOLACCACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands at or after year 2000.

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Nomenclature and Basic Information Images
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Profile Date Oct-2010 (last update: 12-Jan-2019)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (Oct-2010) Phytolacca americana retrieved from on 2021-Feb-28

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Phytolacca americanaL.
Published in L., Sp. Pl. 441 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Phytolacca decandra
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Phytolaccaceae R. Br. (The Pokeweed Family)
2 species from the Phytolaccaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

American Pokeweed, American nightshade, Cancer Jalap

Maltese name(s) :


Status for Malta :

Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 and spreads to form established, non-invasive populations. It may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Data not available - casual in the wild as a garden/field escape

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE (prostate plants with flowers close to the ground)
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection [link]:

Not Protected by Law (LN200/2011 or LN311/2006)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :


Colour of Flowers:

Green or Red

Species Description and Distribution

Habitat in Europe:

Waste places.

Preferred habitat in Malta:

Data will be available in the next update of this website.

Botanical Description:

Glabrous, perennial herb, somewhat woody at the base. Stems 1-3 m, subdichotomously branched, often red, with decurrent ridges from the leaf-bases. Leaves 12-25 x 5-10 cm, ovate-lanceolate, petiolate. Racemes c. 10 cm, more or less erect, drooping in fruit. Flowers hermaphrodite. Perianth-segments 2.5 mm, broadly ovate, greenish-white, turning reddish in fruit. Stamens 10. Carpels 10, united except for the styles. Fruit 10 mm in diameter, depressed-globose, purplish-black.

Chromosome number:


Distributional range:

Cultivated for ornament and for dye from the berries widely naturalized in S. Europe, and locally in C. & W. Europe.

Native region outside Europe:

(United States.)

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):

Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):

Introduced in Albania, Austria and Liechtenstein, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Germany, Greece, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Romania, Russia and former USSR, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)

Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(Euro+Med Checklist, 2017) - Country codes

[Ab(A) nAE(G) nAg nAl cAu aAu(A) nAz(C F G J L M P S T) cBe(B) BH nBl(I M N) -Br nBu By nCa(H T) Cg nCo nCr aCs nCt Cy -Eg nGa Ga(F) nGe Gg nGr nHe nHo nHs(G S) nHu Ir nIt nJu aLS nLu nMa nMd(M) Mk Mo Rf(C CS E NW) nRm nSa nSi(M S) nSk Sl Sr nTn nTu(A E) nUk(K) Uk(U)]

Images (11 images)
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-0.
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-1.
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-2.
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-3.
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-4.
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-5.
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-6.
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-7.
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-8.
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-9.
   Phytolacca americana   -   Image Code: PYTAM-10.

Links & Further info

Google Web

Google Images

Yahoo Web

Yahoo Images




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



The Plant List


Vienna Virt. Hb.





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