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Euphorbia maculata

Previously known as:

  • Chamaesyce maculata L.
  • Chamaesyce matthewsii
  • Chamaesyce supina
  • Chamaesyce tracyi
  • Euphorbia rayturneri
  • Euphorbia supina
Phonetic Spelling
kam-ay-SY-kee mak-yuh-LAH-tuh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Euphorbia maculate, or Spotted spurge is a summer annual weed with an erect growth habit. Spotted spurge has small, oblong leaves with an irregular maroon to purple spot in the center. The leaves grow opposite on the stem and, when broken or injured, emit a milky white sap (similar to dandelion). Spotted spurge reproduces from seed. The flower of spotted spurge is small and green in color.

Spurges are summer annual weeds that flourish in warm weather, but in warmer climates, can persist into late fall. Plants flower in summer and early fall, then die after frost. Flowers are greenish-white and stems turn pale red in reaction to bright sunlight. Spurges are some of the most common warm-season weeds in container nurseries.

Spotted spurge is similar to Euphorbia prostrata and is sometimes known by the common name, Prostrate spurge; however Euphorbia prostrata, the usual species called Prostrate spurge, has shorter leaves that are more rounded at the tips. Spotted and Ground Spurg are similar spurges that have prostrate to ascending stems with simple, opposite, and round or oblong leaves and small teeth along the margins. Seedlings are very small but will flower when young. The cup-shaped "flowers" are axillary with the petal-like appendages on the rim white to pinkish. This plant is a prolific seeder. Seeds have limited or no dormancy and germinate quickly. 

Because spurges flower when young and have little or no seed dormancy, weed populations can increase rapidly. Remove plants when young to reduce seed production. They are time-consuming to hand weed due to the number of seedlings that form. Some species may forcefully discharge seeds. Spurges are well-managed by most preemergence herbicides labeled for use.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

Other than the aggressive spread of the plant noted above, there are no known diseases or insect problems.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#sun#poisonous#full sun#annual#white flowers#weed#summer annual weed#mat#summer flowers#sap#late fall#weed control#milky sap#warm#warm climates#groundcover#poor soils tolerant#warm season weed
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#white#sun#poisonous#full sun#annual#white flowers#weed#summer annual weed#mat#summer flowers#sap#late fall#weed control#milky sap#warm#warm climates#groundcover#poor soils tolerant#warm season weed
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Euphorbia
    Species:
    maculata
    Family:
    Euphorbiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeast Canada to Belize, Cuba, and Bahamas
    Distribution:
    Canada, United States and part of Mexico. Typically found in sidewalk cracks, gravel, roadsides, gardens, sometimes woodlands.
    Edibility:
    toxic if eaten
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 1 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Weed
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Erect
    Prostrate
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Seeds grow fast and have little to no dormancy period. Fast growing, tiny 3-lobed, hairy egg-shaped pale brown capsule. Seeds are hydrophilic and can adhere to surfaces when they are wet.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Plants flower in summer and early fall, then die after frost. The cup-shaped "flowers" are axillary, the petal-like appendages are greenish-white and stems turn pale red in reaction to bright sunlight.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    This plant has small, 1 1/2 inch, leaves with reddish green tint that are round or oblong. Some have a large dark spot on the leaf blade as well as small teeth on the margins.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Milky white sap. The stems spread out in a mat along the ground with each stem rarely greater than 18 inches long. The stems are slender, hairy with opposing leaves and produce a milky white sap. This spurge typically hugs the ground forming mats 6-18 inches across and < 1 inch tall often turning a pale red in bright sunlight.. Stem from a thick tap root and rarely or never roots at the leaf nodes.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Causes low toxicity if eaten and minor skin irritation that typically lasts only a few minutes. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingested; redness, swelling, blisters after some delay following contact with skin and exposure to sunlight.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Diterpene esters in milky latex
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems