1. Phyllanthus emblica Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 982. 1753.
余甘子 yu gan zi
Diasperus emblica (Linnaeus) Kuntze; Dichelactina nodicaulis Hance; Emblica officinalis Gaertner; Phyllanthus mairei H. Léveillé.
Trees 3-8(-23) m tall, to 50 cm d.b.h., monoecious, deciduous; bark brownish; main stems terete, sparsely lenticellate, with very reduced short shoots producing groups of leafy shoots; leafy shoots angular, tawny pubescent, at start of growing season often with poorly developed leaves and densely flowered, later with fewer flowers and better-developed leaves. Leaves distichous; stipules triangular-ovate, 0.8-1.5 mm, brown, margins entire or denticulate, ciliate; petiole 0.3-0.7 mm; leaf blade oblong or linear-oblong, 8-23 × 1.5-6 mm, papery to leathery, paler abaxially, green adaxially, drying reddish or brownish, base shallowly cordate and slightly oblique, margin narrowly revolute, apex truncate, rounded or obtuse, mucronate or retuse at tip; lateral veins 4-7 pairs. Fascicles with many male flowers and sometimes 1 or 2 larger female flowers. Male flowers: pedicels 1-2.5 mm; sepals 6, membranous, yellow, obovate or spatulate, subequal, 1.2-2.5 × 0.5-1 mm, apex obtuse or rounded, margin entire or shallowly denticulate; disk glands 6, subtriangular; stamens 3; filaments coherent into column, 0.3-0.7 mm; anthers erect, oblong, 0.5-0.9 mm, longitudinally dehiscent, apex mucronate. Female flowers: pedicels ca. 0.5 mm; sepals 6, oblong or spatulate, 1.6-2.5 × 0.7-1.3 mm, apex obtuse or rounded, thicker, margin membranous, ± lobate; ovary ovoid, ca. 1.5 mm, 3-celled; styles 3, (1-)2.5-4 mm, connate at base, deeply bifid, lobes divided at tip. Fruit a drupe, globose, 1-1.3 cm in diam., exocarp fleshy, pale green or yellowish white, endocarp crustaceous. Seeds reddish, 5-6 × 2-3 mm. Fl. Apr-Jun, fr. Jul-Sep.
Dry open sparse forests or scrub, village groves; 200-2300 m. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan [Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand; South America (cultivated)].
The mature fruits are very sour and contain 1%-1.8% Vitamin C. They are eaten raw or sweetened or preserved. The seeds, roots, and leaves are used as medicine. The dried leaves are sometimes used as fillings in pillows.