Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Grady L. Webster, except as specified

Annual, perennial herb, shrub, tree, vine, monoecious or dioecious
Stem generally branched, sometimes fleshy or spiny
Leaves generally simple, alternate or opposite, generally stipuled, petioled; blade entire, toothed, or palmately lobed
Inflorescence: cyme, panicle, raceme, spike; flowers sometimes in clusters (dense, enclosed by involucre, flower-like in Chamaesyce, Euphorbia ), terminal or axillary
Flower unisexual, ± radial; sepals generally 3–5, free or fused; petals generally 0; stamens 1–many, free or filaments fused; ovary superior, chambers 1–4, styles free or fused, simple or lobed
Fruit: generally capsule
Seeds 1–2 per chamber; seed scar appendage sometimes present, pad- to dome-like
Genera in family: 300 genera, 7500 species: ± worldwide especially tropical; some cultivated (Aleurites , tung oil; Euphorbia subsp.; Hevea , rubber; Ricinus )
Reference: [Webster 1967 J Arnold Arbor 48:303–430]
Many species ± highly TOXIC.



Species in genus: 1 sp
Etymology: (Latin: tick, from seed shape)


R. communis L.

Shrub, sometimes tree-like, 1–3 m, monoecious, ± glabrous; sap clear
Stem: trunk ascending to erect, branched above
Leaves simple, cauline, alternate, peltate; stipules fused, 1–1.5 cm, sheath-like, deciduous; petiole 1–3 dm, glandular distally; blade 1–5 dm, ± round, palmately 7–11-lobed, sharply toothed
Inflorescence: panicle, terminal, 1–3 dm; staminate flowers below pistillate flowers
Staminate flower: sepals 3–5; petals 0; stamens many, clustered; nectary 0
Pistillate flower: sepals 3–5; petals 0; ovary 3-chambered, bristly, styles 2-lobed, plumose, reddish
Fruit 1.2–2 cm diam, ± spiny
Seed 9–22 mm, smooth, shiny, mottled; scar appendaged
Chromosomes: 2n=20
Ecology: Disturbed areas, fields, roadsides
Elevation: < 300 m.
Bioregional distribution: Great Central Valley, Central Coast, South Coast, expected elsewhere
Distribution outside California: e US; native to Europe
Highly TOXIC: seeds attractive to children, fatal when ingested.

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