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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 12 | Phyllanthaceae

8. Phyllanthus acidus (Linnaeus) Skeels, U.S.D.A. Bur. Pl. Industr. Bull. 148: 17. 1909. (as acida).

Otaheite or Tahitian gooseberry tree Otaheite or Tahitian gooseberry tree

Averrhoa acida Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 428. 1753; Cicca acida (Linnaeus) Merrill; C. disticha Linnaeus

Trees, monoecious, 20–100 dm; branching phyllanthoid. Stems: main stems and ultimate branchlets terete, not winged, glabrous. Leaves on main stems deciduous, spiral, scalelike; stipules not auriculate, dark brown. Leaves on ultimate branchlets deciduous with branchlets, distichous, well developed; stipules not auriculate, dark brown; blade broadly ovate to ovate-lanceolate, (40–)50–90 × (20–)25–45 mm, base obtuse or rounded, apex acute, both surfaces glabrous. Inflorescences cymules on leafless short shoots, on old wood bisexual with 1–9 pistillate flowers and 25–40 staminate flowers, on new growth bisexual on proximal shoots with 1–2 pistillate flowers and 8–12 staminate flowers, staminate on distal shoots with 8–12 flowers. Pedicels: staminate 1.5–3 mm, pistillate spreading in fruit, 2.3–5(–6) mm. Staminate flowers: sepals 4, reddish purple with pink to white margins, flat, 1.1–1.4(–1.5) mm; nectary extrastaminal, 4 glands; stamens (3–)4, filaments distinct. Pistillate flowers: sepals 4, green to reddish purple with pink to white margins, flat, (1–)1.2–1.4 mm, 1-veined; nectary annular, 4-lobed. Drupes greenish yellow to white, (12–)15–20(–25) mm diam., smooth. Seeds uniformly brown, 3.3–3.5 mm, smooth. 2n = 26 (West Indies).

Flowering and fruiting year-round. Disturbed sites; 0–10 m; introduced; Fla.; South America (Brazil); introduced also in Mexico, West Indies, Central America, elsewhere in South America, Asia, Africa.

Phyllanthus acidus is widely cultivated in the tropics and subtropics for its edible drupes. In the flora area, it is known sparingly from Collier and Monroe counties.


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