Phyllanthus tenellus

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Phyllanthus tenellus
Phyl tene.jpg
Photo by Keith Bradley, Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Euphorbiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Phyllanthus
Species: P. tenellus
Binomial name
Phyllanthus tenellus
PHYL TENE dist.jpg
Natural range of Phyllanthus tenellus from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Mascarene Island leaf-flower[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: P. amarus.[1]

Varieties: none.[1]


This plant has a “phyllanthoid” arrangement of branches, leaves, and flowers. It has 5 stamens, free filaments, fruiting pedicels, that are 3-7 mm long. The seeds are densely papillose.[1]


P. tenellus is a native of the Mascarene Islands and began spreading throughout the U.S. in the mid-20th century. It extends from Florida to southern Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee.[1]



It can be found growing along buildings, under trees in dry loamy sand of cultivated fields, and in moist loam in cultivated flower gardens and lawns.[2]


It has been observed flowering in January.[3]

Seed bank and germination

Seed density observed to be highest three years post-fire.[4]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draft of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: July 2015. Collectors: Robert K. Godfrey, R. L. Wilbur, E. L. Dunn, H. A. Hespenheide, D. R. Wiseman, Loran C. Anderson, T. MacClendon, K. MacClendon, Geo. Wilder. States and Counties: Florida: Calhoun, Jefferson, Leon. Dominica. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  3. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 12 DEC 2016
  4. Navarra, J. J., N. Kohfeldt, et al. (2011). "Seed bank changes with time since fire in Florida rosemary scrub." Fire Ecology 7(2).