Phyllanthus nummulariifolius Poir.[Agg]

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Phyllanthus nummulariifolius

Photo: Bart Wursten
Mia Falls, Burma Valley

Phyllanthus nummulariifolius

Photo: Bart Wursten
Mia Falls, Burma Valley

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Synonyms: Phyllanthus capillaris (Schumach & Thonn.) Radcl.-Sm.
Phyllanthus stuhlmannii Pax
Phyllanthus tanzaniensis Jean F. Brunel
Common names:
Status: Native
More or less erect annual or perennial herb, up to 3 m tall, but usually much smaller, sexes on the same plant or sometimes separate. Stem often reddish at the base with brownish-green or purplish-brown branches. Lead shoots and lateral shoots hairless, scaberulous or evenly to densely whitish-puberulous (depending on the variety). Scale leaves linear-subulate, c. 2 mm long; stipules narrowly lanceolate, c. 2.5 mm long. Foliage leaves suborbicular, obovate or elliptic, up to 2.3 × 1.4 cm, more or less thinly textured, usually hairless on both surfaces, rarely somewhat velvety along the midrib and main veins, light yellow-green to bright blue-green or dark grey-green above, paler and somewhat blue-green beneath; margin slightly recurved and sometimes purplish-tinged; petioles 0.5–1 mm long; stipules linear-lanceolate, 1–1.5 mm long, reddish-brown with hyaline margins. Male flowers in few-flowered clusters, usually with 1 female flower per cluster in the more distal axils of the lateral shoots. Male flowers cream-coloured or whitish with a green midrib, sometimes pink-tinged on pedicels 5–6 mm long; stamens 5. Female flowers yellowish-green, often reddish- or brownish-tinged on red pedicels 7–20 mm long. Fruit depressed 3-lobed to subglobose, 1 × 2 mm, smooth, pale green, sometimes reddish-tinged.
Notes: Two varieties are found in Zimbabwe: var. nummulariifolius with shoots hairless or minutely scaberulous and var. capillaris with shoots more or less densely whitish velvety.
Derivation of specific name: nummulariifolius: with round or coin-like leaves.
Habitat: In grassland, woodland and evergreen forest, often in marshy places, dambos or along streams.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 2100 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in tropical Africa, Madagascar, Mascarenes and Seychelles.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Friday 10 June 2022

Other sources of information about Phyllanthus nummulariifolius:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
Flora of Malawi: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
Flora of Mozambique: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
Flora of Zambia: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
African Plant Database: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
JSTOR Plant Science: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
Plants of the World Online: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
Tropicos: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius
Wikipedia: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Phyllanthus nummulariifolius., retrieved 22 May 2024

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