(Euphorbia corollata) Spurge family
Flowers - (Apparently) white, small, borne in forked,
long-stalked umbels, subtended by green bracts; but the true
flowers are minute, and situated within the white cup-shaped
involucre, usually mistaken for a corolla. Staminate flowers
scattered over inner surface of involucre,
each composed of a
single stamen on a thread-like pedicel with a rudimentary calyx
or tiny bract below it. A solitary pistillate flower at bottom of
involucre, consisting of 3-celled ovary; 3 styles, 2-cleft, at
length forming an erect 3-lobed capsule separating into 3
2-valved carpels. Stem: 1 to 3 ft. high, often brightly spotted,
simple below, umbellately 5-branched above (usually). Leaves:
Linear, lance-shaped or oblong, entire; lower ones alternate,
upper ones whorled.
Preferred Habitat - Dry soil, gravelly or sandy.
Flowering Season - April-October.
Distribution - From Kansas and Ontario to the Atlantic.
A very commonplace and uninteresting looking weed is this spurge,
which no one but a botanist would suspect of kinship with the
brilliant vermilion poinsettia, so commonly grown in American
greenhouses. Examination shows that these little bright white
cups of the flowering spurge, simulating a five-cleft corolla,
are no more the true flowers in the one case than the large red
bracts around the poinsettia's globular greenish blossom
involucres are in the other. From the milky juice alone one might
guess the spurge to be related to the rubber plant. Still another
familiar cousin is the stately castor-oil plant; and while the
common dull purplish IPECAC SPURGE (E. Ipecacuanhae) also
suggests unpleasant doses, it is really a member of quite another
family that furnishes the old-fashioned emetic. The flowering
spurge, having its staminate and pistillate flowers distinct,
depends upon flies, its truest benefactors, to transfer pollen
from the former to the latter.
Next: STAGHORN SUMAC VINEGAR TREE
|ADD TO EBOOK