Perennial trees, shrubs or herbs. Inflorescence a leaf-opposed raceme; perianth of 5 segments; stamens 6–c. 30, in 1 or 2 series, inserted on or below disc; ovary of 5–16 carpels. Fruit a berry.
About 35 species, mostly tropical American, 2, perhaps 3 naturalised in Australia.
Phytolacca dioica L. (Bella Sombra) from South America is a tree to c. 7 m high with buttressed trunk and poplar-like foliage. The flowers are unisexual, the males with 20–30 stamens and females with 7–11 carpels. It is occasionally grown for ornament or shade, and may persist in abandoned gardens, but is not regarded as naturalised in Victoria.