Breynia disticha

J. R. Forster & G. Forster

Char. Gen. Pl. ed. 2, 146, plate 73. 1776.

Synonyms: Breynia nivosa (W. Bull) Small
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 12. Treatment on page 346.

Shrubs, 0.5–3 m. Leaves on main stems spiral. Leaves on ultimate branchlets distichous; petiole 2–4 mm; blade elliptic to ovate or suborbiculate, 1.5–4 × 1–3 cm, base obtuse to rounded, apex rounded. Pedicels: staminate 6–9 mm, pistillate 3–9 mm. Staminate flowers: calyx top-shaped, truncate, 1.5–3 mm. Pistillate flowers: sepals obovate, 1–5 mm. Capsules 5 mm diam., smooth. Seeds brown, 2–3 mm. 2n = 52 (Jamaica).

Phenology: Flowering and fruiting summer.
Habitat: Disturbed sites.
Elevation: 0–10 m.


V12 1102-distribution-map.jpg

Introduced; Fla., Pacific Islands, introduced also in West Indies, Indian Ocean Islands.


Breynia disticha, native to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, is widely grown in tropical and subtropical areas and occasionally becomes naturalized. In the flora area, it is limited to scattered counties in southern Florida. Most plants are cultivars with variegated leaves in various shades of green, white, red, and pink; naturalized populations may revert to uniformly green leaves. The calyx typically reproduces the colors of the leaves, sometimes even being variegated.

Selected References


Lower Taxa