tropical and subtropical regions of world
Species commonly cultivated
Phyllanthus fluitans Benth. ex Muell. Arg. (Mexico to Brazil)
small, free floating stem plant; rarely attached and ascending
Perennial, free floating, monoecious. Roots numerous, red colored. Stem creeping horizontally, frequently fragmenting. Leaves alternate in a compact series, sessile; leaf blade orbicular, pubescent, venation pinnate, with regions between veins raised and swollen; margin entire. Inflorescence axillary, solitary. Flowers small, unisexual, short-petiolate; perianth of 5-6 imbricate segments, white. Berries red to green. Dispersal by seed and stem fragments.
swamps and rivers, amongst other vegetation
Phyllanthus contains at least 600 species worldwide, but only two are aquatic: the free floating P. fluitans from Central and South America, and the submersed, attached P. leonardianus from Zaire. Only P. fluitans is cultivated for aquaria and ponds, although rarely traded commercially.