This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Annual, biennial or perennial herbs. Stems wiry. Leaves alternate, entire, often numerous, and so arranged as to appear like the leaflets of a compound leaf. Flowers monoecious, apetalous, sessile or pedicelled, a staminate and a pistillate one together in the axils. Calyx mostly 5-6-parted, the lobes imbricated. Stamens usually 3, the filaments more or less united, rarely separate. Ovary 3-celled; ovules 2 in each cavity; styles 3, each 2-cleft. Capsule globose, each carpel 2-seeded; endosperm of the seed fleshy. [Greek, leaf-flower.]
More than 125 species, natives of the tropical and temperate zones of both hemispheres. Type suecies: Phyllanthus Nirùri L.
Phyllanthus carolinensis Walt. Fl. Car. 228. 1788. Phyllanthus obovatus Willd. Sp. Pl. 4: 574. 1805.
Annual, dark green, glabrous. Stem slender, erect, or ascending, 4'-20' high, simple or branched, the branches 2-ranked; leaves obovate, or oblong, 3"-10" long, obtuse, narrowed to a very short petiole, or subsessile; flowers inconspicuous, nearly sessile in the axils; calyx 6-parted, its lobes linear, or oblong; stamens 3; styles 3, each 2-cleft; glands of the pistillate flower more or less united; capsule about 1" in diameter; seeds nearly 1/2" long, marked with lines and minute black papillae.