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Phyllanthus angustifolius (Sw.) Sw.

Family Name: Phyllanthaceae
Synonyms: Phyllanthus elongatus, Phyllanthus cognatus
Common Name: Swordbush, Duppy Bush, Foliage Flower
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Coastal Fragrant Woody Herbaceous


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

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


Native Distribution Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status 1 Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form An evergreen, perennial, medium-sized shrub with flattened, leaf-like stems. It can reach a height of up to 2 m and a spread of 1 m. 
Crown It has a rounded growth habit. 
Foliage The leaf-like structures are actually flattened stems. The real foliage are absent except on seedlings.
Stems Stems are dark green, flattened and leaf-like. 
Flowers White to pale pinkish flowers are arranged in small clusters along both edges of flattened stems.
Etymology The genus Phyllanthus means leaf-flower, which means flower occurs at the edges of leaf-like phyllodes. The specific epithet angustifolius means narrow-leaved. 

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It can be pruned regularly to maintain as small shrub, suitable as potted plant. 
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Stems, Fragrant (Flowers)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses General, Small Gardens, Coastal, Container Planting

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Stem Cutting (Semi-Hardwood)


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Modification Phyllode
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Pink
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Cauliflorous
Flower Symmetry Bilateral
Individual Flower Shape Salverform
Flowering Period Free-Flowering

Image Repository



Master ID 32246
Species ID 6654
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 2020.