Phyllanthus gunnii Hook.f.

Shrubby Spurge

London J.Bot. 6: 284 (1847) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Monoecious or rarely dioecious shrub to 2.5 m high; branchlets smooth and glabrous. Leaves orbicular, elliptic, obovate or oblanceolate, 9–33 mm long, 4–20 mm wide, usually rounded, flat, paler below; secondary veins 4–10 per side; petioles 0.7–3 mm long; stipules c. ovate, 0.7–4.6 mm long, red-brown, often flecked paler. Male flowers 1–21 per axil; pedicels 2–6 mm long; sepals 0.9–2.4 mm long, white, yellow or greenish, often with a lobe on one or both sides; disc 0.6–1.7 mm wide; stamen filaments free or connate, 0.3–1 mm long. Female flowers 1–4 per axil; pedicels 2.3–7 mm long; sepals 1–2.2 mm long, white, yellowish or green, often with a lobe on one or both sides; disc 0.6–1.3 mm wide; styles 3, undivided, 0.4–1.5 mm long. Capsule transversely ellipsoid, apically depressed, 2–2.8 mm long, 3.6–4.5 mm wide; seeds yellow-brown, pallid-brown, or black, 1.6–2.3 mm long, rugose and ribbed. Flowers all year.

EGL, EGU, GipP, GGr, HSF, OtP, OtR, WPro. Also Qld, NSW, Tas. Grows mainly in sheltered gullies along creek and river banks, often near the coast. Sometimes forming thickets after fire or soil disturbance. An 1853 collection purportedly from Mt Arapiles is probably not accurate given the difference in environment there to all the confirmed current places of occurrence nearer to the coast.

This species contains cyanic compounds and is reported to cause death in cattle.

Source: Hunter, J.T.; Bruhl, J.J. (1999). Phyllanthus. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Daniel Ohlsen, 2017-06-07
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Malpighiales
genus Phyllanthus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Phyllanthus gunnii in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Phyllanthus gunnii in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Greater Grampians present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales