Phyllanthus simplex (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Phyllanthus simplex Retz.

Protologue: Observ. bot. 5: 29 (1788).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: sahakepo (Minahassa, Sulawesi)
  • Philippines: kaya-an, kayut-bulang (Bagobo)
  • Laos: ket 'hoy, 'khi2doy2
  • Thailand: khaang amphai (northern), luuk tai bai (central), phaeng kham hoi (eastern)
  • Vietnam: vẩy ốc.


P. simplex is found from India and Sri Lanka to Indo-China, southern China, Thailand, and throughout the Malesian region.


In the Philippines, leaf juice is used as an eyewash for inflamed eyes. In India, P. simplex is credited with antiseptic properties. Leaves are crushed and mixed with buttermilk to make a lotion against itching, and root preparations are externally applied to mammary abscesses.


  • A monoecious, annual or perennial, erect to prostrate, glabrous herb up to 50 cm tall with unspecialized branching, branchlets compressed, narrowly wing-angled; leaves distichous on the main stem, narrowly to broadly oblong-lanceolate, 5-32 mm × 2-9 mm, obtuse to rounded at base, apex obtuse, margin often purplish, subsessile, stipules broadly ovate.
  • Male flowers in axillary glomerules of 2-4, with (5-)6 calyx lobes, disk segments 6, stamens 3, free, anthers dehiscing horizontally; female flowers solitary in leaf axils, long-pedicellate, with 6 calyx lobes, disk shallowly cupular, entire to subentire, styles free, bifid down to the base.
  • Fruit a depressed globose capsule, 2.5-3.5 mm in diameter, papillate-verruculose.
  • Seeds verruculose.

P. simplex is a weed of roadsides, grassy places, arable land and upland rice fields, up to 750 m altitude.

Selected sources

97, 287, 580, 1126, 1128, 1135, 1178, 1188, 1380, 1386, 1525, 1556.

Main genus page


F.L. van Holthoon