creeping phyllanthus

Phyllanthus virgatus
Herb
Alternate
Simple
Green
Green

A long-lived (i.e. perennial) herbaceous plant usually with creeping (i.e. prostrate) or spreading stems 3-20 cm tall, but occasionally with upright (i.e. erect) stems growing up to 50 cm in height.

Common names 
Also known as: creeping phyllanthus, phyllanthus, seed-under-leaf, spurge, virgate leaf-flower,
Family 
Phyllanthaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Summer- Autumn
Native/Exotic 
Native
Origin 
Native to the Indian sub-continent, eastern and south-eastern Asia, and northern Australia. Within Australia, it is native to northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Notifiable 
No
Council declaration 
SIL – Special Investigation List
Known distribution 

Native to the Indian sub-continent, eastern and south-eastern Asia, and northern Australia. Within Australia, it is native to northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Habitat 

A weed of lawns, gardens, footpaths, parks, roadsides, disturbed sites, waste areas, pastures and crops. It grows naturally in grasslands and open woddlands.

Habit 

A long-lived (i.e. perennial) herbaceous plant usually with creeping (i.e. prostrate) or spreading stems 3-20 cm tall, but occasionally with upright (i.e. erect) stems growing up to 50 cm in height.

Impact and control methods 
Stem and leaves 

The main stem is usually much-branched near its base and the branches are hairless (i.e. glabrous). The alternately arranged leaves are simplae and borne on very short stalks (i.e. petioles). These leaves (5-20 mm long and 1.5-5 mm wide) are oval (i.e. elliptic) or slightly elongated in shape with entire margins. They are hairless (i.e. glabrous), with bright green upper surfaces and paler green undersides (i.e. they are discolorous).

Flowers and fruits 

Separate male and female flowers are borne on separate parts of the same plant (i.e. this species is monoecious). These inconspicuous greenish-coloured flowers have six tiny ‘petals’ (i.e. tepals or perianth segments) about 1 mm long and are borne on stalks (i.e. pedicels) 1-8 mm long. The flowers are borne in the leaf forks (i.e. axils) along the branches, either singly or two or three male flowers together. The small rounded (i.e. spherical) fruit (1.5-2.5 mm across) have three compartments, each containing a single seed (0.8-1.5 mm long).