Phytolacca octandra (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Phytolacca octandra L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. ed. 2, 1: 631 (1762).
Family: Phytolaccaceae

Vernacular names

  • Inkweed, dyeberry (En).


Native of tropical America, extending form Mexico to Columbia. Elsewhere locally naturalized or cultivated, e.g. in Indonesia (Sumatra and western Java).


Young sprouts and leaves can be used as a vegetable. The roots have fungistatic and medicinal properties.


  • A perennial branched herb up to 60(-200) cm tall, with angular stem.
  • Leaves oblong-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, up to 15(-22) cm × 6(-7.5) cm; petiole 1-3 cm long.
  • Flowers in spiciform racemes shorter to slightly longer than leaves, bisexual, stamens 8-15(-20), in 1 whorl, carpels 7-9(-10), united in fruit.
  • Fruit a subglobose berry, about 1 cm in diameter, with 8 longitudinal furrows, black.

In Malesia, P. octandra occurs at about 1700 m altitude, near road and watersides, waste places.

Selected sources

7, 47, 57, 91. Vegetables

96, 165, 166, 976, 1057, 1356. Medicinals


  • Razali Yusuf