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Phyllanthus multiflorus Poir. 1804
pronounced: fill-AN-thuss mull-tee-FLOR-uss
(Phyllanthaceae – the phyllanthus family)
common name: Waterfall Plant
Phyllanthus is derived from the Greek φυλλον (phyllon), leaf, and ανθος (anthos), a flower; the plants in this genus appear to flower from a leaf-like stem. Multiflorus is Latin, multus, many, and flos, a flower.
The waterfall plant is a small spreading shrub (a single plant can spread up to 2 m) that has fine fern-like foliage and weeping branches. It is often grown as a low hedge (best trimmed to 70 or 80 cm in height), or planted in rockeries, or grown so that it can cascade over retaining walls; it can even be grown in hanging baskets.
It performs best in full sun to part shade, needs well-drained soil, and must have regular watering if it is to do well. It is suitable for either tropical or subtropical climates. It should be lightly pruned to encourage a bushy growth.
The paripinnate leaves are in one plane. The plant does flower, but the flowers are inconspicuous. The pendulous flowers are tiny, pinkish red in colour, formed along the branches. Tiny reddish fruits are produced.
Chemicals extracted from the plant are widely used in Chinese traditional medicines.
Photograph taken in Picnic Bay 2016
Page last updated 20th January 2017