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WEBSTER. WEST INDIAN PHYLLANTHUS A MONOGRAPHIC STUDY OF THE WEST INDIAN SPECIES OF PHYLLANTHUS * GRADY L. WEBSTER With twelve plates LEAFLamina. The leaf-blade in Phyllanthus (and in the other genera of Phyllantheaeas well) is invariably simple and entire, but there are many variations ofsize, shape, and texture. In a few species such as P. urinaria and P. carno-sulus there may appear to be a minutely serrate or crenate margin, but thisappearance actually is due to projections of individual or associated epider-mal cells which belong in the category of trichomes; true vascularized teethnever occur. The leaf of Phyllanthus varies in size from minute, as in P. imbricatuswhere it may be only 1.5 mm. long, to large as in P. grandifolius where itmay attain 15 cm. in length and almost as much in width. It is not surpris-ing that the leaves of P. grandifolius, which are borne on permanentbranches, are large and persistent; but a few species, such as P. juglandi-folius and P. cornifolius with the foliage leaves only on deciduous branch-lets also have leaves 15 cm. long, although never as broad. On the whole.the leaves of Phyllanthus are medium-sized or small, and the median forthe genus would perhaps fall at about 3 cm. Most species of Phyllanthus have elliptic to oblong leaves, but as mightbe expected in so large a genus, there are some striking deviations. Insome New Caledonian and South American species (e.g., P. bupleuroidesand P. duidac) the lamina is prominently basally lobed and has the outlineof a Cercis leaf-blade. A few xerophytic species such as P. comosus andP. formosus (sect. Orbicularia) have leaves with a pronounced spathulateoutline. The apex of the blade varies from retuse to acuminate amongvarious species, and in some of the Cuban species of sect. Orbiculariathere is a long attenuate scarious tip, which however is differentiated fromthe rest of the leaf-blade. A pronounced "drip-tip" such as characterizesthe leaves of many Lauraceae in the tropical rain forest is scarcely devel-oped in any species of Phyllanthus. Leaf texture within the genus runs the gamut from extremely tenuousand delicate as in P. tenuifolius (sect. Cyclanthera) to rigidly coriaceousin species of several sections (e.g., Orbicularia). The leaf surface is usuallysmooth, although many species have a papillate lower epidermis. Phyllan-thus acuminatus is exceptional in having definitely scabrid leaf-surfaces. * Continued from volume XXXVII, page 122.1956]

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A monographic study of the West Indian species of Phyllanthus

G L Webster
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 37: 217-268 (1956)

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