nPhytolacca(Bot) A genus of herbaceous plants, some of them having berries which abound in intensely red juice; poke, or pokeweed.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
nphytolaccaA genus of plants, type of the order Phytolaccaceæ and tribe Euphytolacceæ, characterized by the depressed-globose berry of from five to twelve sessile carpels. There are l0 species, mainly tropical and American, a few African and Asiatic. They vary greatly in habit, being shrubs, herbs, or trees, erect or climbing, smooth or hairy, and with round, grooved, or angled branches. They bear alternate undivided leaves, and small flowers in axillary racemes or opposite the leaves, at first apparently terminal. They are usually of marked poisonous and medicinal properties, especially P. decandra, one of the most characteristic of American plants (for which see pokeweed, also called coakum, 8coke, redweed, red-ink plant, inkberry-weed, pigeonberry, garget, and foxglove). P. icosandra, a small and shrubby plant, is cultivated for its graceful drooping racemes of white flowers, under the name of hydrangea -leafed poke. P. octandra is the Spanish calalu, or West Indian foxglove. (For P. dioica, also called tree-poke and umbra-tree, see bellasombra-tree.) P. esculenta has been cultivated, often under the name of Pircunia, as a substitute for asparagus and for spinach.