Phyllanthus maderaspatensis (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Phyllanthus maderaspatensis L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. 2: 982 (1753).


  • Phyllanthus venosus A. Rich. (1851),
  • Phyllanthus vaccinioides Klotzsch (1861),
  • Phyllanthus gueinzii Muell. Arg. (1863).


Tropical Africa to India and Sri Lanka, East Java and Australia.


In India, a leaf infusion is used to treat headache, and seeds are credited with laxative, carminative and diuretic properties. Powder from dried plant material mixed with cow milk is given orally for eight days to treat jaundice.


  • A monoecious, annual or perennial, erect to spreading, unbranched to much branched, glabrous herb up to 90(-120) cm tall with unspecialized branching; leaves arranged spirally, linear to oblanceolate, (5-)10-30(-60) mm × (1-)2-7(-17) mm, cuneate to broadly cuneate at base, acute to rounded at apex, on a petiole about 1 mm long, with ovate-lanceolate stipules; proximal axils of branches with solitary female flowers, distal ones with 1-4 male flowers and a single female one.
  • Male flowers with 6 calyx lobes, yellowish-green or whitish, disk segments 6, stamens 3, filaments partly united, anthers free, vertically dehiscing; female flowers pedicellate, with 6 calyx lobes, dark green, sometimes flushed with red or pink, margins white, disk with 6 free segments, styles free, shortly bifid.
  • Fruit an oblate capsule, about 3 mm in diameter, smooth.
  • Seeds with longitudinal rows of tubercles on the back.

P. maderaspatensis is found in deciduous woodland, wooded savanna, beaches, dunes, also along streams and ponds, in cultivated and disturbed places, on a wide variety of soils, up to 1850 m altitude.

Selected sources

92, 97, 287, 1135, 1187, 1193.

Main genus page


F.L. van Holthoon