Phyllanthus emblica L. - EUPHORBIACEAE

Synonym : Cicca emblica (l.) Kurz
Emblica officinalis Gaertn.

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Botanical descriptions Habitat and ecology Distribution

Botanical descriptions :

Diagnostic characters : Deciduous trees, small twigs falling together with the leaves.
Habit : Deciduous tree up to 20 m tall.
Trunk & bark : Bole often crooked, bark grey-brown, smooth, sometimes peeling in long flakes.
Branches and branchlets or twigs : Twigs terete, glabrous.
Exudates : Exudate absent.
Leaves : Leaves simple, alternate and distichous, strongly appearing pinnate, oblong, glabrous, apex obtuse or acute, base rounded, glaucous below, margin entire.
Stipules tiny.
Inflorescences or flowers : Flowers arranged in a many-flowered inflorescence, axillary or behind the leaves, unisexual on the same tree, pedicels up to 3 mm long.
Fruits : Fruit a drupe, up to 2 cm in diameter, with fleshy exocarp, not splitting.
Seeds : Seeds 3-6.

Habitat and ecology :

Very common in the drier, open forest.

Distribution :

India, Nepal, Burma, China (South), Malesia to Australia (North), Thailand, Indochina, Laos (Khammouan).

Remark/notes/uses :
The acid fruits are eaten fresh or as condiments. The bark, leaves and fruits give a yellow dye and also are rich in tannins. The fruits are of great importance in Asiatic medicine mainly for diverse internal ailments. All plants extracts used have an antiseptic working and are commonly taken for diahorrea and dysentery.

Specimens studied :
BT 529, BT 632, LAO 33, LAO 267 (Herbarium of Faculty of Sciences-NUoL, NHN-Leiden and CIRAD-Montpellier).

Literature :
Gardner S., Sidisunthorn, P. & Anusarnsunthorn, V. 2000. A field guide to Forest Trees of Northern Thailand. Kobfai Publishing Project. Bangkok. Thailand.

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