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Weed Identification

long-stalked phyllanthus



Scientific Name

Phyllanthus tenellus

Other Common Names:

mascarene island leaf-flower


Arranged alternately along the central stem. Leaves are divided into two rows of alternately arranged leaflets. Each leaflet is oval to elliptic in outline with a small projecting tip at the apex, especially on older leaves. Leaflets are without petioles. Leaves are without hairs (glabrous).

Identifying Characteristics

The alternately arranged leaves that consist of 2 rows of alternately arranged oval leaflets, erect growth habit, and small inconspicuous star-shaped flowers are all characteristics that help to distinguish long-stalked phyllanthus from most other weeds

Flower Seed Head

Small, inconspicuous, white to greenish-white in color, arising from the area between the leaflets and central axis of the leaf. Individual flowers occur on flower stalks (peduncles) and are star-shaped in outline.

Seed Fruit

Small capsules that arise from the area between the leaflets and the central axis of the leaf. The capsules are green in color, round, without hairs, and also occur on long stalks that often dangle below the leaves.

Where Found

Long-stalked phyllanthus is primarily a weed of greenhouses, and container ornamentals, and has only appeared recently in Virginia due to transportation of nursery stock, ornamental flowers, etc. across state lines. It has also been found in some other southeastern states.

Life Cycle


Plant Type