Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Margaritaria nobilis

L.f., Suppl. Pl. Syst. Veg. 428. 1781

Phyllanthus nobilis (L.f.) Müll. Arg.

Dioecious shrub or tree, to 15 m tall, to 20 cm dbh; outer bark thin, flaky; inner bark thin, rose-colored, with faint longitudinal grains; sap at first with a sweet aroma; stems glabrous; branchlets conspicuously          warty-lenticellate. Leaves alternate, simple, glabrous or sometimes bearing short trichomes on petioles and on veins below; stipules paired, triangular, l-2 mm long, subpersistent; petioles 3-5 mm long; blades             ovate-elliptic to elliptic, acuminate, obtuse to rounded and decurrent at base, 7-12 (19) cm long, 3-7.5 cm wide, moderately thin; smaller reticulate veins clearly visible. Inflorescences axillary, bearing few flowers; flowers unisexual, green, 4-parted, apetalous; disk round to minutely 4-lobed, annular, 2.5-3 mm wide, the lobes opposite calyx lobes; staminate flowers green, 5-6 mm wide; pedicels 2.5-5 mm long; calyx lobes        some­what unequal, ovate to suborbicular, spreading, 1-2 mm long; stamens 4 and opposite the calyx lobes; filaments to 2 mm long; anthers minute, slightly longer than broad, extrorse; pistillate flowers solitary or clustered or in short racemes; pedicels stout, ca 3 mm long, becoming 5-14 mm long in fruit; calyx lobes 1-2 mm long, about as broad as long, rounded at apex; disk thin, round or mi­nutely 4-lobed; ovary (3) 4- or         5-carpellate, ovoid, weakly angled, glabrous or minutely puberulent, together with style ca 2.5 mm long; styles 1 per carpel, entire or bifid or tripartite. Capsules with 4-6 cocci, depressed-globose, ca 1 cm diam, dehiscing irregularly; seeds paired in each coccus. Croat 6104, 14634, 14656, 14915.

Occasional in the forest, especially the young forest. Flowers mostly from May to July, rarely later in the rainy season. The fruits mature mostly from July to October. Leaves fall late in the dry season, growing out again at the time of flowering.

Mexico to Peru and Brazil; West Indies. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Bocas del Toro, Colón, San Blas, Los Santos, Panama, and Darien, from premontane wet forest in Chiriqui and Panama, and from tropical wet forest in Colón,

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Margaritaria nobilis
  • Margaritaria nobilis Fruit
  • Margaritaria nobilis Fruit
  • Margaritaria nobilis Flower Leaf
  • Margaritaria nobilis Fruit Leaf
  • Margaritaria nobilis Fruit Leaf
  • Margaritaria nobilis Fruit Leaf
  • Margaritaria nobilis Leaf
  • Margaritaria nobilis Seed
  • Margaritaria nobilis