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Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 981 (1753).

Derivation: Greek phyllon, leaf; anthos, flower; in some foreign species the flowers grow on the edges of dilated leaf-like branchlets.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Phyllanthus.

Herbs, shrubs or trees of varied habit; leaves alternate, often distichous, shortly petiolate, entire; stipules small, leathery and brownish or with scarious white margins, usually persistent; monoecious or dioecious.

Flowers axillary, apetalous; males usually few together; perianth-segments 6 rarely 5 or 4, imbricate, more or less distinctly in 2 rows, all similar and often petal-like, divided to the base; stamens 3 (in S.Aust.), filaments free or connate wholly or partly, anthers free (in S.Aust.), dehiscing longitudinally; glands 6 (in S.Aust.), distinct, at the base of the stamens; rudimentary ovary absent; female flowers solitary or with 1-3 males (in S.Aust.), with 6 perianth-segments (similar to the male ones but larger in S.Aust. species) usually shorter than the capsule;.ovary 3- or more-celled (3 in S.Aust.); ovules 2 per cell; styles 3, free or shortly connate, usually 2-fid; disc glands hypogynous, mostly small, free or connate into an annulus (in S.Aust.).

Fruit capsular (in S.Aust.), rarely baccate or drupaceous, of mostly 3 2-valved fruitlets, dehiscent; seeds 6, trigonous, the inner edges straight, the back semicircular, testa smooth or sculptured, without any caruncle; cotyledons broad.

Distribution:  About 600 species from tropical and subtropical parts of the world except Europe and North Asia; c. 60 species native and naturalised in Australia; in S.Aust. 7 species with 1 possibly endemic. The genus in Australia is in need of revision.

Biology: No text

Key to Species:
1. Hoary plants
2. Leaves elliptic-obovate, 3-12 mm long, evenly pubescent with short hairs; monoecious; seed smooth on the back
P. fuernrohrii 3.
2. Leaves obovate-cuneate, almost truncate, 3-6 mm long, with stiff long hairs unevenly distributed; dioecious; seed covered all over with papillae in longitudinal rows
P. hirtellus 4.
1. Glabrous plants
3. Fruiting calyx enlarged, longer than the capsule; shrubs; monoecious
P. calycinus 2.
3. Fruiting calyx shorter than the capsule
4. Shrubs; leaves suborbicular, 8-12 mm long, distichous; dioecious
P. saxosus 7.
4. Undershrubs or herbs; leaves oblong
5. Perianth-segments lanceolate; seed with solid lengthwise ridges; monoecious
P. lacunarius 5.
5. Perianth-segments obovate; seed with minutely granular lengthwise ridges made up of fine papillae
6. Dioecious; leaves to 12 mm long; capsule on 3-6 mm long peduncles; filaments free
P. australis 1.
6. Monoecious; leaves 10-40 mm long; capsule on up to 2 mm long peduncles; filaments united in a column
P. maderaspatensis 6.

Author: Not yet available

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