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Phyllanthus polyanthus Pax

General Information

If you know the common widespread tropical weed Phyllanthus amarus then this species may surprise you because it is a tree that can reach a height of 30 m. Standing at the bottom of this tree you will notice a rather light coloured bark with a red slash; looking up it will appear as if it has compound leaves even through binoculars. If you are fortunate enough to get some leaves in your hand you will notice that it has simple leaves arranged along special shoots which look very similar to compound leaves. These leafy shoots arise together on short woody branches. The leaves are alternate with stipules. The ripe fruit can smell very pleasant but should not be eaten. The seeds are very hard with a thick wall.


The tree grows in mixed species terra firma forest and in seasonally flooded forest. It is more common in slightly disturbed areas.


Distribution: Cameroon and Gabon to DRC.