Spermatophyta: Dicotyledonae: Archichlamydeae: Malpighiales


Byng, J.W. (2014) The Flowering Plants Handbook Plant Gateway Limited, Hertford, UK

Description of the family

Trees, herbs or shrubs, rarely climbers, succulents or aquatics. Leaves simple, alternate, rarely opposite, absent in some Phyllanthus species; margins entire, rarely toothed. Stipules usually present. Sap absent. Inflorescence axillary, rarely terminal; consisting of cymes, racemes, panicles, fascicles or solitary flowers. Flowers unisexual, rarely bisexual; actinomorphic; bracteate, usually yellow to green or pink to maroon. Sepals free or fused, usually imbricate or valvate. Petals free or absent. Ovary superior; carpels fused. Fruit usually a capsule or schizocarp, or a drupe or berry.

Comment: This family has recently been separated from Euphorbiaceae sensu lato and formerly was the subfamily Phyllanthoideae within that family, excluding Drypetes, which has become part of the small family Putranjivaceae.

Worldwide: 54-60 genera and c. 2000 species mostly pantropical but also many in southern temperate zones and some northern temperate

Zambia: 11 genera and 85 taxa.

Bridelia cathartica subsp. melanthesoides

Links to genera:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this family

Antidesma L.Description
Bridelia Willd.Description
Cleistanthus Hook. f. ex Planch.Description
Flueggea Willd.Description, Image
Hymenocardia Wall. ex Lindl.Description
Maesobotrya Benth.Description
Margaritaria L.f.Description
Phyllanthus L.Description
Pseudolachnostylis PaxDescription
Thecacoris A. Juss.Description
Uapaca Baill.Description

Other sources of information about Phyllanthaceae:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Phyllanthaceae
Flora of Caprivi: Phyllanthaceae
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Phyllanthaceae
Flora of Malawi: Phyllanthaceae
Flora of Mozambique: Phyllanthaceae
Flora of Mozambique: cultivated Phyllanthaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: Phyllanthaceae
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Phyllanthaceae

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Family page: Phyllanthaceae.
https://www.zambiaflora.com/speciesdata/family.php?family_id=297, retrieved 20 June 2024

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