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Pilea microphylla


Pilea microphylla

Family Name: Urticaceae
Synonyms: Pilea mucosa
Common Name: Artillery Plant, Gunpowder Plant, Pistol Plant


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant, Creeper
Maximum Height 0.2 m to 0.3 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.6 m


Native Distribution Mexico to Brazil

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Low-growing, succulent with a spreading growth habit and short life cycle (1 - 3 years). Resembles a fern.
Foliage Small, fleshy leaves are lanceolate to spatulate with smooth edges (0.6 - 1.2 cm long).
Flowers Small greenish to white flowers occur in the leaf axils.
Cultivation This species grows best in a humid environment. It is usually resistant to most insects and diseases. Occasionally, leaf spots and stem rot may occur or spider mites and mealybugs may attack. Plants grown indoors usually do not produce flowers or fruits. Propagate by stem cuttings.
Etymology It is commonly known as the Artillery Plant, because male flower release pollen with explosive force.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green - Light Green
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Image Repository



Master ID 192
Species ID 1488
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 April 2022.