Prostrate Spurge - Euphorbia antiquorum

Common Name: 
Prostrate Spurge
Family: 
Euphorbiaceae
Genus: 
Euphorbia
Species: 
antiquorum

A member of the Euphorbia family, this low-growing weed is closely related to spotted spurge and nodding spurge. A very hardy plant, prostrate spurge can germinate and grow in pavement cracks, stone walls, dry and compacted soils, and disturbed sites.

Like its name suggests, prostrate spurge forms a ground hugging mat, up to two feet in diameter, from stems originating from a central tap root. Stems and foliage exude a milky sap when injured. Leaves are pale green, small, opposite, and oval, with reddish brown spots along the mid-vein. This coloration acts almost like camouflage, making these weeds easy to miss until they get large. Prostrate spurge flowers are small but numerous. The plant flowers continuously from June through October, producing large numbers of seed to ensure its pesky presence in the future.

The plants are annual or perennial herbs, woody shrubs, or trees with a caustic, poisonous milky latex. The roots are fine or thick and fleshy or tuberous. Many species are more or less succulent, thorny, or unarmed. The main stem and mostly also the side arms of the succulent species are thick and fleshy, 15–91 cm (6–36 in) tall. The deciduous[citation needed] leaves may be opposite, alternate, or in whorls. In succulent species, the leaves are mostly small and short-lived. The stipules are mostly small, partly transformed into spines or glands, or missing.

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