Euphorbia serpyllifolia (Thyme-Leaved Spurge) - photos and description








About 2/3 of plants with a purple splotch in middle of leaves.

About 1/3 of plants with no purple splotch in middle of leaves.

General: Prostrate, much-branched, matt-forming plants. Foliage when broken exudes a white sap, stems light red in colour. Plants glabrous.

Flowers: Pinkish-white in clusters of up to 15 flowers in leaf axils. The flowers are in a cup-shaped calyx-like involucre called a cyathium. The cyathium has 1 pistillate flower, several staminate flowers, and there are white, fringed, petal-like extensions at the top of the cyathium. Once fertilized, the pistillate flower swells, elongates, and hangs out of the side of the cyathium. We measured a cyathium with a diameter of 2 mm and a length of 2 mm, and a fertilized ovary hanging outside the cyathium at 2 mm long.

Leaves: Opposite, ovate to oblong to slightly falcate (sickle-shaped), asymmetrical with one side of the leaf longer than the other, rounded at base. The apex of the leaves serrulate. We measured a leaf at 13 mm long by 7 mm wide.

Height: Not applicable, we've measured plants to a spread of 26 cm.

Habitat: Dry, sandy soil in waste places and yards. Can often be found growing in cracks in sidewalks and pavement.

Abundance: Common.

Origin: Native.

Similar species: This plant is very similar to Euphorbia glytosperma. That species has leaves which are only obscurely serrulate, and has leaves with no purple splotch in the middle of the leaf blade.

When and where photographed: Photos taken July 31st weedy area inside city limits in our home of Regina, SK.