Phyllanthus niruri - Keezhar Nelli

Phyllanthus niruri, like most tropical plants, has evolved several adaptations that allow it to thrive in a tropical habitat. One of these adaptations is the shape of its leaves. Due to the extreme rainfall in the rainforests, P. niruri needs to be able to shed excess water. This is accomplished with what is called a “drip tip.” The shape of the leaves are pointed in such a way that water quickly runs off of them. It’s important for P. niruri to shed this over supply of water to hinder fungal and bacterial growth.

Another important adaptation is P. niruri's strong roots. Phyllanthus niruri is commonly known as “stonebreaker” because its roots are powerful enough to shatter stone. These incredibly strong roots come in very handy for P. niruri. The roots keep it anchored to the forest floor and prevent it from being washed away when the rain gets really hard. They also allow it to grow in many different locations. In areas that don’t have excessive rains, Stonebreaker can use its strong roots to burrow deep underground and find water.   

This search for water is tremendously important for Phyllanthus niruri as it plays a key role in its nutrition.