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Phyllanthus pulcher

Family Name: Phyllanthaceae
Synonyms: Phyllanthus asteranthos
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Herb & Spice Ornamental Flowers Ornamental Foliage Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Woody)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby


Native Distribution Thailand, Virgin island, Southern China to Western Malesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Exotic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Small-sized shrub, able to grow up to about 1.5 m tall.
Foliage Simple leaf, the shoots bear alternate leaves in flat sprays that imitate pinnate leaves. They are arranged in two vertical rows on opposite of the stem. The plant bear their flowers and fruits in the axils of the small leaves thereby confirming the small leaves are really leaves, not leaflets.  Glabrous (smooth, hairless) except for puberulent young branches and bracts. Leaf blade is obliquely oblong to ovate-oblong, measuring up to 3 cm long by 1.3 cm wide, grey-green on the underside while green on the upper side.  
Flowers Flowers have hairy bracts that look irregularly torn, dark red in colour. Male flower has soft and delicate pedicel (about 15 - 10 mm long), 4 sepals, dark red; filaments are short and connected. Female flower has hairlike pedicel which is longer than male flower (about 15 - 20 mm long); 6 sepals. 
Habitat It is commonly found in open forests and riverside scrub area. 
Etymology Genus Phyllanthus means flowering from edges of leaf-like phyllodes. Species pulcher means beautiful.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Herb and Spice)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Apiculate
Foliar Base Acute
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Pink
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Image Repository



Master ID 1042
Species ID 5062
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: 19 August 2021.