Phyllanthus fluitans

Bentham ex Müller. Arg.

Linnaea 32: 36. 1863.

Common names: Floating spurge red root floater
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 12. Treatment on page 340. Mentioned on page 335, 336.

Herbs, perennial, floating aquatic, without caudex or rhizomes, monoecious, 0.5–13 dm; branching not phyllanthoid. Stems terete, not winged, glabrous. Leaves distichous; all well developed; stipules auriculate, pale brown; blade ± orbiculate, 9–17 mm diam., base cordate, apex rounded to shallowly emarginate, both surfaces papillate. Inflorescences cymules, bisexual, with 1–2 staminate and 1–2 pistillate flowers, or flowers solitary. Pedicels: staminate 0.5–1 mm, pistillate spreading in fruit, 0.5–1 mm. Staminate flowers: sepals (5–)6, white or greenish white, flat, 1–1.4 mm; nectary extrastaminal, (5–)6 glands; stamens 3, filaments distinct. Pistillate flowers: sepals (5–)6, white or greenish white, flat, 0.8–1.2 mm, 1-veined; nectary annular, unlobed to lobed. Capsules 2.5–3 mm diam., smooth. Seeds uniformly brown, 1–1.4 mm, verrucose.

Phenology: Flowering and fruiting summer–fall.
Habitat: Slow-moving rivers, ponds.
Elevation: 0–10 m.


V12 978-distribution-map.jpg

Introduced; Fla., South America, also introduced in Mexico.


Phyllanthus fluitans, the only floating species in the genus, appears to be closely related to P. caroliniensis (H. Kathriarachchi et al. 2006). This popular aquarium plant was first discovered in the flora area in 2010 in the Peace River drainage, DeSoto County (G. J. Wilder and M. P. Sowinski 2010); it appears to be naturalized there despite intensive eradication efforts (M. P. Sowinski, pers. comm.).

Selected References


Lower Taxa