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Chamberbitter Phyllanthus urinaria

Previously known as:

  • Diasperus urinaria
Phonetic Spelling
fil-LAN-thus yer-in-AIR-ee-ah
Description

Chamberbitter is a summer annual, heavily branched at the base with ascending stems, often forming a mound 1 to 2 feet in height. Leaves are oblong in shape, 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length, on short branches, and look similar to compound leaves of some legumes. Although in the spurge family, chamberbitter stems do not exude a milky sap when broken. Flowers are small, inconspicuous, and greenish-white. Distinctive round fruit are borne on the undersides of the lateral branches at the leaf axils. Similar in appearance to long-stalked phyllanthus (Phyllanthus tenellus), the two species differ by the length of the seedpod stalks. Chamberbitter fruit are borne sessile (without stalks) whereas long-stalked phyllanthus stalks are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. Phyllanthus require substrate temperatures above 75 oF to germinate and thus are more common in the summer, but will persist into late fall in the southeastern US (and year-round in sub-tropical areas). Plants flower throughout the summer and fall then die after frost. Fruit forcefully expel seed short distances.

Management strategies for chamberbitter: Both species of phyllanthus are particularly difficult to manage. Do not let plants go to seed. Inspect pots before planting and eradicate new infestations before they can spread. They are poorly manged by most preemergence herbicides labeled for use.

Propagation: forcefully expelled seeds

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#weed#weedy#summer annual weed#red stems#warm season weed
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#weed#weedy#summer annual weed#red stems#warm season weed
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Phyllanthus
    Species:
    urinaria
    Family:
    Phyllanthaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical & Subtropical Asia to N. Australia
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Weed
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Mounding
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Green or greenish red .12" in diameter divided into three parts. The surface has scales that are raised and when it dries it expel seeds for dispersal.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Insignificant small greenish-yellow-white male and female flowers on same plant. Female flowers form from the first to middle part of the leaf and male flowers from the middle to the tip.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Tiny (0.2" long 0.2") wide alternate bright dark green above reddish green below.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Branching slender stems are crimson red.
  • Landscape:
    Problems:
    Weedy