Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Phyllanthus cuscutiflorus S.Moore

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Male flowers. © Barry Jago
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves, habit and immature fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Moore, S. le M. (1905) The Journal of Botany 43 : 148. Type: Queensland, Myola and Barron River; G. Podenzana.

Common name



Seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh.


Leaf blades about 4.5-13 x 3-6 cm, much paler on the underside. Leaves tend to be distichous rather than spirally arranged on the rather slender twigs (about 0.5-1.5 mm diam.). Oil dots visible with a lens. Midrib raised on the upper surface.


Flowers emit a strong obnoxious odour particularly in the late afternoon. Pedicels long and filiform, about 11-12 x 0.3 mm, flowers small, about 2 mm diam. Disk in the male flowers consists of three cerebriform glands. Stamens united to form an androphore. Disk in the female flowers continuous, somewhat lobed and slightly pitted. Tepals horizontal at maturity in the female flowers.


Fruits depressed, +/- 3-lobed, about 3 x 4-5 mm. Seeds about 1.5-2 x 1.5 mm.


Cotyledons obovate, about 4-6 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade broadly ovate, glabrous, apex acute or obtuse, base rounded; stipules very small, triangular, visible only with a lens. All leaves after the first are produced on lateral branches which could be mistaken for compound leaves. Seed germination time 8 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 400 m. Grows in monsoon forest and drier rain forest. Also occurs in New Guinea?

RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.