Phyllanthus niruri, or Chanca Piedra, Euphorbiaceae, is a common kharif (rainy season) weed found in both cultivated fields and wastelands. Although considered a problematic weed for farmers it is known to be valuable for herbalists.
Phyllanthus niruri is an annual, herb; height varies between 30–60 cm. Stem is angular with numerous distichous, elliptic-oblong leaves. Flowers are yellow and very numerous; monoecious with 1–3 staminate flowers and solitary pistillate flower borne axillary. Fruits capsule, very small, globose, smooth, seeds 3-gonous, longitudinally ribbed on the back. Seed to seed cycle occurs in two or four weeks. The flowering time in Indian conditions is July to August. Keys for identification of different species of Phyllanthus are found in Caius (1986), Agharkar (1991), and Gupta (1984).
Chanca Piedras root, leaves, fruits, milky juice, and whole plants are what is used. The leaves and stem are used for dyeing cotton black.
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