Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Phyllanthus emblica L.

A much-branched, frost tender deciduous shrub or small tree with light, elegant foliage, flushed pink when young.  To 15m.  It produces very acid, pectin-rich fruit which are a good source of carbohydrates, vitamin C and minerals.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Introduced to Britain in 1768, it was figured in Loddiges’ Botanical Cabinet.  ‘A native of the East Indies, Cochin China, and China.  In Malabar it becomes a small tree of twelve or fourteen feet high, and the fruit, which is much larger than a cherry, is eatable.  The leaves are extremely elegant, being long and slender pinnate; they seem to be never wholly developed, as at the ends always appear the rudiments of more leaflets.  The flowers are produced on the footstalk: they are small but very curious.’  [LBC no.548/1821]. 

‘The Emblick Myrobalon.  Myrobalanus Emblica.  This tree grows about 24 foot high, the leaves are a dark green above & a light green underneath, and the flowers white, with white stamina and yellow apices; and the fruit a pale green; both without and within.  This specimen I had from the Malabar Garden, Vol. 1. Tab.38 & the fruit that is open and divided I did from the life.  It grows in several parts of the East Indies.  This species of the Myrobalans is said to purge phlegm at first & afterwards choler; and are an ingredient in the Decoctum Epithymi.’  [Blackwell pl.400/1739].

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1857 catalogue [T.755/1857].  This could the Phyllanthus sp. obtained from the Sydney Botanic Garden on 17th October 1853 [RBGS AB] but Breynia nivosa Small, which see, is perhaps more likely.


Published Feb 20, 2010 - 02:24 PM | Last updated Jul 18, 2010 - 03:35 PM

Figured are pinnate leaves, tiny greenish flowers and green fruits.  Blackwell pl.400, 1739.

Phyllanthus emblica L. | Blackwell pl.400/1739 | BHL

Family Euphorbiaceae
Region of origin

Tropical Asia

  • Emblica officinalis Gaertn. 
Common Name

Emblic, Myrobalon

Name in the Camden Park Record

Phyllanthus variegata

Confidence level low