The perennial herb Phytolacca acinosa Roxb. (Phytolaccaceae), which occurs in Southern China, has been found to be a new manganese hyperaccumulator by means of field surveys on Mn-rich soils and by glasshouse experiments. This species not only has remarkable tolerance to Mn but also has extraordinary uptake and accumulation capacity for this element. The maximum Mn concentration in the leaf dry matter was 19,300 microg/g on Xiangtan Mn tailings wastelands, with a mean of 14,480 microg/g. Under nutrient solution culture conditions, P. acinosa could grow normally with Mn supplied at a concentration of 8000 micromol/l, although with less biomass than in control samples supplied with Mn at 5 micromol/l. Manganese concentration in the shoots increased with increasing external Mn levels, but the total mass of Mn accumulated in the shoots first increased and then decreased. At an Mn concentration of 5000 micromol/l in the culture solution, the Mn accumulation in the shoot dry matter was highest (258 mg/plant). However, the Mn concentration in the leaves reached its highest value (36,380 microg/g) at an Mn supply level of 12,000 micromol/l. These results confirm that P. acinosa is an Mn hyperaccumulator which grows rapidly, has substantial biomass, wide distribution and a broad ecological amplitude. This species provides a new plant resource for exploring the mechanism of Mn hyperaccumulation, and has potential for use in the phytoremediation of Mn-contaminated soils.