This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Tall branching rapid-growing robust perennials, shrubs or small trees. Perianth of 5 or 6 petaloid or green segments. Stamens 5 to 30. Fruit fleshy and juicy, composed of 5 to 12 united carpels. There are about ten species, one or two of which are widely dispersed in the tropics. The generic name is a compound of the Greek word a plant, and the French word lac, lake, in reference to the crimson juice of the fruit.
1. Ph. decandra. Poke-weed, Pigeon-berry, Red-ink Plant. - This is a tall glabrous plant from 5 to 10 feet high with large ovate petiolate leaves and long extra-axillary racemes of white flowers followed by succulent purple berries. Native of North America, and now naturalised in the South of Europe, and many other countries.
2. Ph. icosandra. - A dwarfer species having the stems tinged with red, the flowers smaller, in very slender racemes, and usually more than ten stamens. A native of various parts of South America, and rather tender in our climate.
Ercilla spicata, syn. Bridgesia spicata, is a Chilian evergreen climbing shrub, in the way of Ivy.