Euphorbiaceae2017-08-17T15:44:04+00:00

Euphorbiaceae: Spurge Family

California Croton – Croton californicus

Blooms:

Apr–Aug

Plant Height:

< 100 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry sandy places

Notes:

A low-growing perennial to small shrub, this is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). Leaves are elliptic to oblong (20–55 mm long), pale gray-green and felty.  Creamy-white petals are tiny and in 5 parts.

Turkey-mullein / Dove Weed – Croton setiger

Blooms:

May–Oct

Plant Height:

< 20 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Open grassland

Notes:

Often prostrate, larger plants can form low mounds. It has distinctive felty, ovate, gray-green leaves and small and rather undistinguished creamy-white flowers. Unlike California Croton (Croton californicus), the plant is monoecious, with separate male and female flowers but on the same plant.

Chinese Caps – Euphorbia crenulata

Blooms:

Mar–Aug

Plant Height:

12–60 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Dry places

Notes:

Similar to the non-native and far more common Petty Spurge (Euphorbia peplus), this is a little larger and more robust and is found in dry rather than moist places. Its flowers, with their horned nectar glands, are very similar but its fruits are spherical and entire rather than 2-keeled like those of Petty Spurge.

Petty Spurge – Euphorbia peplus

Blooms:

All year

Plant Height:

10–45 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Europe

Habitat:

Moist places

Notes:

A very common weed, this is an undistinguished looking plant, green with red stems when young and often turning reddish with age. Its flowers are unusual with their horned nectar glands and its fruits are distinctive with their three, 2-keeled segments.

Eggleaf Spurge – Euphorbia oblongata

Blooms:

June–Aug

Plant Height:

50–80 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Europe

Invasive?

Yes – limited

Habitat:

Disturbed places

Notes:

A noxious weed.  The common name nicely describes this plant with its clusters of bright yellow flowers.  The lower leaves are alternate, the upper whorled, 40–65 mm long, smooth and yellowish-green.  The stem is densely hairy, unlike Petty Spurge (Euphorbia peplus) and the plant is somewhat larger.