Phyllanthus urinaria

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Phyllanthus urinaria
Phyl urin.jpg
Photo by John R. Gwaltney, Southeastern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Euphorbiales
Family: Phyllanthaceae
Genus: Phyllanthus
Species: P. urinaria
Binomial name
Phyllanthus urinaria
PHYL URIN dist.jpg
Natural range of Phyllanthus urinaria from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Chamber bitter[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Phyllanthus urinaria Linnaeus ssp. urinaria.[1]

Varieties: none.[1]


This plant has fruiting pedicels that are 0.5 mm long. The seeds have 12-15 transverse ridges and sometimes 1-3 pits. There are three stamens and the filaments are connate into a column 0.1-0.15 mm long. Male flowers are borne toward the tip of the branchlets, while the female flowers are toward the base.[1]


This species entered the U.S. in 1940 and spread throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and North Carolina.[1]



In natural habitats P. urinaria has been documented to grow abundantly in hammock clearings, fallow fields, and amongst Fabaceae patches near ponds. In human disturbed areas it can be observed growing in the moist soil of fire lanes, lawns, depressions along roads, city parks, and old plantations. [2] Soil types observed include moist sandy loams, moist loam, and peaty sandy soils. [2]

Physalis angulata is an associated species. [2]


This plant flowers from March through November.[1]

Fire ecology

Populations of Phyllanthus urinaria have been known to persist through repeated annual burning.[3]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 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. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: July 2015 Collectors: Robert K. Godfrey, Richard R. Clinebell II, R. L. Lazor, E. L. Tyson, H. Loftin, Sidney McDaniel, Cecil R Slaughter, Loran C. Anderson. States and Counties: Florida: Gadsden, Gulf, Leon, Nassau. Georgia: Thomas. Countries: Costa Rica, Panama. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  3. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.