Unknown #43
Unknown #43

Spurges In The Euphorbia Family (Euphorbiaceae)

Herbaceous species in the euphorbia family are often called spurges. They typically belong to the genus Euphorbia and the genus Chamaesyce. Both genera have a cup-shaped cyanthium containing several small, unisexual male flowers (each consisting of a stamen), and a female flower (consisting of an ovary) on a long stalk that protrudes out of the cyanthium. Spurges in the genus Euphorbia are typically erect with alternate basal leaves. Spurges in the genus Chamaesyce are typically prostrate with opposite leaves.

When identifying a prostrate spurge of the genus Chamaesyce, it is important to determine whether the root system is annual or perennial. This can sometimes be challenging. This species actually keys out as a naturalized annual. It reseeds itself each year and becomes a very common and persistent garden weed.

Close-up view of the underside of a prostrate spurge (Chamaesyce) showing the fused stipules, female flower (ovary) and two adventitious roots arising from a node.

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