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Useful Tropical Plants

Phyllanthus acidus

(L.) Skeels.

Phyllanthaceae

+ Synonyms

Averrhoa acida L.

Cicca acida (L.) Merr.

Cicca acidissima Blanco

Cicca disticha L.

Cicca nodiflora Lam.

Cicca racemosa Lour.

Diasperus acidissimus (Blanco) Kuntze

Phyllanthus acidissimus (Blanco) Müll.Arg.

Phyllanthus cicca Müll.Arg.

Phyllanthus cochinchinensis (Lour.) Müll.Arg.

Phyllanthus distichus (L.) Müll.Arg.

Phyllanthus longifolius Jacq.

Tricarium cochinchinense Lour.

Common Name: Gooseberry Tree

Phyllanthus acidus
Ripening fruits
Photograph by: Dinesh Valke
Creative Commons License
Phyllanthus acidus Phyllanthus acidus Phyllanthus acidus Phyllanthus acidus

General Information

Gooseberry tree is a deciduous tree with an open, sparingly branched, spreading crown; it can grow about 6 - 9 metres tall. The short bole can be 15cm in diameter[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
The tree is occasionally cultivated as a garden plant in tropical areas for its fruit and as an ornamental[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
]. The fruit is sometimes sold in local markets[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].

Known Hazards

The juice of the root bark is weakly poisonous[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

S. America - northeastern Brazil.

Habitat

Coastal forest[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
] and dry limestone woodlands[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height7.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Gooseberry tree grows well in the tropics at low and medium altitudes in places with a short or prolonged dry season. It prefers hot, humid tropical lowlands. It flourishes from sea-level up to an altitude of 1,500 - 1,800 metres[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The temperature range for growth is reported to be 14 - 35°c with the optimum between 20 - 29°c[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The annual rainfall range for growth is reported to be 700 - 4,200mm with the optimum between 1,500 - 2,500mm[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Requires a position in full sun or part day shade, but is undemanding as to soil requirements[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Grows well in dry areas[
298
Title
Edible Leaves of the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Martin. F. W.; Ruberte. R. M. & Meitzner. L. S.
Publisher
Echo. USA.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9653360-1-8
Description
A terse guide, giving reasonable detail on the more common leaf crops and brief information on a wide range of lesser known plants.
]. Prefers growing in a moist site[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
], though established plants are drought tolerant[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].
A widely cultivated fruit crop and ornamental, the plant sometimes escapes from cultivation and becomes naturalized. There are some reports that it can become invasive[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].
Seedlings grow rapidly and can bear fruits when only 2 - 3 years old[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].
The plant can flower and produce some fruit through much of the year, although there are generally two periods a year when fruit is produced plentifully[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
Flowers are borne in clusters composed of male, female or hermaphrodite flowers[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].
The fruits often explosively dehisce dispersing their seeds[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The mature fruits may be eaten fresh but usually they are sprinkled with salt to neutralize the acidity[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Rich in vitamin C with a very acid flavour, it is more usually used in relishes or chutneys, or cooked as a flavouring in desserts[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. The fruit is sometimes used as a substitute for tamarind[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. The fruit is yellow when fully ripe but turns red upon cooking[
298
Title
Edible Leaves of the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Martin. F. W.; Ruberte. R. M. & Meitzner. L. S.
Publisher
Echo. USA.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9653360-1-8
Description
A terse guide, giving reasonable detail on the more common leaf crops and brief information on a wide range of lesser known plants.
]. The fruit is about 2cm in diameter[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Leaves - cooked as a vegetable[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Neutral or mild in flavour, but somewhat fibrous[
298
Title
Edible Leaves of the Tropics
Publication
 
Author
Martin. F. W.; Ruberte. R. M. & Meitzner. L. S.
Publisher
Echo. USA.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9653360-1-8
Description
A terse guide, giving reasonable detail on the more common leaf crops and brief information on a wide range of lesser known plants.
].

Medicinal

The root is an active purgative[
333
Title
Tree Species of Panama
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ctfs.arnarb.harvard.edu/webatlas/mainframe.php?order=s
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Factsheets on all the tree and shrub species of Panama, giving identification guide, brief guide to the species and some uses. A vast, but rather incomplete work as of 15/07/09.
]. An infusion of the root is taken to alleviate asthma[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
An extract from the root is used to cure skin diseases especially to bring relief from itching[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].

The leaves are used as one of the ingredients in a Thai remedy to control fevers[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
]. A leaf decoction is applied to urticaria[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. An infusion of the leaves is used as a dieting aid for people who are dieting and wish to remain slim[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

The latex is credited with emetic and purgative activity[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The bark is heated with coconut oil and spread on eruptions on feet and hands[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. A decoction of the bark is used to treat bronchial catarrh[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The fruit is used as a laxative[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. They are also taken as a liver tonic to enrich the blood[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The juice of the fruit is instilled in the eyes to treat eye-troubles[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

The seeds are cathartic[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Other Uses

The bark is used in India as a tanning agent[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

An extract from the plant has shown nematicidal activity against the pine wood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

The reddish-brown wood is fine-grained; of moderate weight; fairly hard; strong; tough; and durable if seasoned. It takes a good polish. Seldom available in any but small sizes, it can be used for utensils and other small objects[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].
The wood is used for fuel[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Propagation

Seed - easily germinated, it is the most common way of propagating the plant[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].
Greenwood cuttings.
Budding.
Air layering.

Comments

Star Butterfly 30th December 2015 14:39
I have a Gooseberry tree in my back yard and a black butterfly or some other insect is eating its leaves. I don´t know what to do and if it keeps going I wont have any crops and the tree will die. Any tips or recommendations? I need Helpppp
Thankyou

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