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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 12 | Phyllanthaceae

1a. Flueggea virosa (Roxburgh ex Willdenow) Royle subsp. virosa
[F I]

Shrubs, 10–60 dm. Stems sharply angled when young. Leaves: petiole 2–9 mm; blade elliptic to obovate, 2–5 × 1–3 cm, base acute-cuneate, apex rounded to acute. Inflorescences: staminate 20–40-flowered, pistillate 3–10-flowered. Pedicels: staminate 3–6 mm, pistillate 1.5–5(–12) mm. Staminate flowers: sepals ovate to elliptic, 0.8–1.5 mm; pistillode 1.2–2.2 mm, nearly as long as stamens. Pistillate flowers: sepals ovate to elliptic, 0.7–1 mm. Berries white, 3–5 mm diam. Seeds brown, 1.7–2.4(–3) mm. 2n = 26 (Africa, Asia).

Flowering and fruiting summer. Disturbed rocky pinelands; 0–10 m; introduced; Fla.; Asia; Africa; Pacific Islands (Malesia except New Guinea).

Subspecies virosa is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental and has become naturalized in Miami-Dade County, where it was first reported escaping in the 1970s. It has weedy tendencies in its native range. The roots, and to a lesser extent the twigs and leaves, are used medicinally in Africa to treat a wide variety of maladies, and the fruits are eaten fresh or made into an alcoholic beverage (J. R. S. Tabuti 2008). The other subspecies grow from northeast India to Myanmar (subsp. himalaica D. G. Long) and New Guinea and Australia [subsp. melanthesoides (F. Mueller) G. L. Webster].


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