spotted spurge

(Euphorbia maculata)

Conservation Status
spotted spurge
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Spotted spurge is a prostrate, usually less than 1 tall, annual forb that rises from a slender taproot. It forms a circular mat. All parts of the plant emit a milky sap when broken.

The stems are thick, round, up to 16 long, and frequently branched at the base. They become red in strong sun. Young stems and are densely hairy, older stems less so. The plant does not root at the nodes.

Leaves are opposite, oblong or oblong egg-shaped to linear-oblong, often widest below the middle. They are 3 16 to long, and a third to half as wide. They are rounded at the tip, rounded and asymmetrical at the base. They are on leaf stalks up to 1 16 long. The upper surface is deep green, often with a reddish spot near the middle. The reddish spot is the source of this plant’s common name and species epithet. The lower leaf surface is covered with a whitish, waxy bloom (glaucous). The margins are shallowly toothed. Young leaves are hairy, older leaves less so.

What appear to be flowers are actually false flowers (cyathia) common to the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family. The inflorescence is usually a small, leafy cluster of cyathia, sometimes a single cyathium, rising from a leaf axil.

The cyathium is less than wide. It is on a stalk up to long. There are no petals or sepals. A single floral bract is formed into a hairless, 1 16 long cup (involucre). The involucre is split on one side ¼ to of its length. There are 4 white, spreading, petal-like lobes at the tip. There are 2 to 5 male flowers and a single female flower in the cyathium. The male flower has 1 stamen. The female flower has a 3-valved, hairy, seed capsule hanging alongside the involucre.

The fruit is a 3-lobed, hairy capsule with 3 seeds.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

Prostrate: usually less than 1 in height

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Cream

 
     
 

Identification

 
 

The three lobed capsule identifies this as a spurge. The prostrate form, the red spot on the leaves, and the hairy stems and seed capsules identify this as spotted spurge.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Nodding spurge (Euphorbia nutans) stems are usually ascending, sometimes erect.

Prostrate knotweed (Polygonum aviculare) is similar in form and appearance. However, it does not emit milky sap from broken stems and leaves. It has a sheath that surrounds the stem above each leaf axil.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry. Meadows, open woods, lawns, gardens, sidewalk cracks, and other disturbed sites. Full sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to September

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 28, 29.

 
  12/31/2011      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  
 

Order

Malpighiales (nances, willows, and allies)  
 

Family

Euphorbiaceae (spurge)  
  Subfamily Euphorbioideae  
  Tribe Euphorbieae  
  Subtribe Euphorbiinae  
 

Genus

Euphorbia (spurge)  
  Subgenus Chamaesyce (sandmat)  
  Section Anisophyllum  
       
 

Spotted spurge was formerly classified as Chamaesyce maculata. Species were originally assigned to the genus Chamaesyce based on the structure of the reproductive organs. Genus wide molecular studies in 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2010 have all unequivocally placed them in the genus Euphorbia, where they were subsequently transferred.

 
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
       
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Chamaesyce maculata

Chamaesyce mathewsii

Chamaesyce supina

Chamaesyce tracyi

Euphorbia supina

 
       
 

The species epithet maculata is derived from the Latin word maculatus, and means “spotted”. It refers to the reddish spot often near the middle of the leaves of this plant.

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

eye-bane

eye-bright

large spurge

milk-purslane

nodding spurge

prostrate spurge

slobber-weed

spotted sandmat

spotted sand-mat

spotted spurge

stubble spurge

wart-weed

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.

 

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

Cyathium

The false flower of the spurge (Euphorbiaceae) family, consisting of a cup-like involucre surrounding a cluster of small flowers.

 

Glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 

Involucre

A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

Node

The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

       
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Habitat

  spotted spurge    
       

Plant

  spotted spurge   spotted spurge
       
  spotted spurge   spotted spurge
       

Leaves

  spotted spurge    
       

Infructescence

  spotted spurge    
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Euphorbia supina SPOTTED CREEPING SPURGE
Frank Mayfield
 
  Euphorbia supina SPOTTED CREEPING SPURGE  

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
       

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Other Videos
 
  Roswell Lawn Care- Weed Pro: Spotted Spurge Weed
Jeff Zazynski
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 28, 2009

http://www.weedpro.com. WeedPro® Lawn Care - Call us for Free Quote 770-WeedPro - Serving the Metro Atlanta area - Organic, 100% Natural, Traditional weed, lawn and yard services for both commercial and residential. In this video we discuss basic yard / turf maintenance tips. Our goal at Weed Pro Lawn Care is to enhance and promote natural processes in your lawn, encouraging a strong healthy soil of microorganism will insure a green healthy lawn. This video is an overview about Spotted Spurge.

   
       
  Off-Grid John: Department of Foraging 7/26/2011-Purslane & Spurge.
John Ludi
   
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 9, 2011

Another video that points out the difference between a wild edible (Purslane) and a non-edible mimic (Spurge). Purslane is a succulent with a mildly sour taste and is high in Omega 3's. I am a forager and recommend learning about this activity, but do not take this video as a recommendation on its own...DO YOUR RESEARCH and learn to identify wild edibles before you eat them. Use the universal edibility test when encountering new wild edibles to test for toxicity and allergic reactions.

   
       

 

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Christa
Mostoller

7/31/2015

This weed has infested my garden and has been nothing but a headache to manage. I wish it would go away!


     
     
 
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