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Phytolaccaceae R.Br., Narr. Exped. Zaire: 454. 1818, nom. cons. sec. APG IV [Angiosperm Phylogeny Group] 20161 wfo-7000000466
      Nametype: Phytolacca L.
  • 1. APG IV [Angiosperm Phylogeny Group] 2016: APG IV: An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants. – Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 181(1): 1-20. 10.1111/boj.12385


The family comprises herbs, trees or lianas distributed mainly in the Americas including the Antilles but with some members distributed in Australia and New Caledonia. They are characterised by styloids, elongate crystals, racemes or spikes and four-five tepals (Rohwer 1993; Stevens 2001 onwards).
The circumscription of the family has long been controversial. Following the treatment by Rohwer (1993) Phytolaccaceae have been disintegrated step by step according to the results of molecular phylogenetic studies (e.g. Cuénoud & al. 2002; Hilu & al. 2003; Schäferhoff & al. 2010; Brockington & al. 2011) which have shown that the subfamilies Agdestioideae, Barbeuioideae, Rivinoideae and Microteoideae are well-supported independent lineages that are therefore now treated at family level (see further notes under those families). A,B,C,D,E,F


A. Brockington, S. F., Walker, R. H., Glover, R. H., Soltis, P.S. & Soltis, D.E. 2011: Complex pigment evolution in the Caryophyllales. – New Phytologist 190: 854 – 864.
B. Cuénoud, P. & al. 2002: Molecular phylogenetics of Caryophyllales based on nuclear 18S rDNA and plastid rbcL, atpB, and matK DNA sequences. – American Journal of Botany 89(1): 132-144.
C. Hilu, K., Müller, K. F., Soltis, D. E., Soltis, P. S., Savolainen, V., Chase, M. W., Powell, M. P., Lawrence, Alice, Evans, R. C., Sauquet, H., Neinhuis, C., Slotta, T., Rohwer, J. G., Campbell, C. S. & Chatrou, L. 2003: Angiosperm phylogeny based on matK sequence information. – American Journal of Botany 90: 1758 – 1776.
D. Rohwer, J. G. 1993: Phytolaccaceae, pp. 506-515. – In: Kubitzki, K., Rohwer, J.G. & Bittrich, V. (ed.), The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants 2. – Berlin, Heidelberg & New York: Springer
E. Schäferhoff, B., Müller, K.F. & Borsch, T. 2010: Caryophyllales phylogenetics: disentangling Phytolaccaceae and Molluginaceae and description of Microteaceae as a new isolated family. – Willdenowia 39: 209-228.
F. Stevens, P. F. 2001+: Angiosperm Phylogeny Website –