Pilea microphylla

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Artillery plant
Starr 030807-0140 Pilea microphylla.jpg
Pilea Microphylla in Maui, Hawaii
Pilea microphylla.jpg
Pilea microphylla in French Guiana
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Pilea
Species: P. microphylla
Binomial name
Pilea microphylla
(L.) Liebm.

Pilea microphylla also known as rockweed,[1] artillery plant, gunpowder plant or (in Latin America)[2] brilhantina is an annual plant native to Florida, Mexico, the West Indies, and tropical Central and Southern America.[3][4] In the southern part of México, specifically Campeche and Merida, the local name is Frescura.[5] The plant belongs to the Urticaceae family.[6] It has light green, almost succulent, stems and tiny 1/8" leaves which contribute to its other nickname, "Artillery Fern", though it is not related to ferns. It is grown as a ground cover in many areas.


Pilea microphylla can be propagated by dividing the root ball, or taking herbaceous cuttings and rooting them with rooting hormone. The plant enjoys a thorough watering after the soil has been allowed to dry, and misting has been shown to be beneficial. Direct sunlight causes the leaves to turn brown and fall off, so it prefers filtered light.

Invasive species[edit]

Pilea microphylla has been introduced to various tropical and subptropical regions around the world. It is considered an invasive species in Australia, China, Diego Garcia, the Galapagos Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, India, Japan, Kiribati, Marshall islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Wallis and Futuna.[4]



  1. ^ "Pilea microphylla". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Brilhantina – Pilea microphylla". Jardineiro. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Pilea Microphylla". Conabio. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Pilea microphylla". Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). 22 July 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  5. ^ Translated by Livio II Ceballos García, all credits goes to the cited website https://www.ecured.cu/Frescura
  6. ^ "Pilea microphylla Brilhantina , Folha-gorda , Planta-artilheira , Beldoega". Paisajismo y Jardín. Retrieved 6 February 2013.