Phytolacca, from the Greek phyton plant and French lac lake, a reference to the crimson juice of the berry. Usually herbs and often succulent; leaves alternate rarely opposite, simple, margins entire. Inflorescences usually terminal, chiefly a raceme or spike, perianth 4-5, green or weakly coloured, stamens usually 4-5. Ovary 2-12 locular; rarely 1, styles as many as carpels; fruit a fleshy berry or dry nut.