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Euphorbia serpyllifolia
THYME-LEAFED SPURGE

Higher Taxonomy
Family: EuphorbiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: SPURGE FAMILY
Habit: Annual to shrub, tree [vine, cactus-like succulent]; monoecious or dioecious; sap clear or milky. Stem: generally branched [fleshy or spiny]. Leaf: generally simple, alternate to whorled, generally stipuled, sessile or petioled; blade entire, toothed, or lobed. Inflorescence: flowers solitary or in terminal or axillary cymes, racemes, spikes, or panicles, or (in Euphorbia) 1° inflorescence a compact, flower-like cyathium with much-reduced flowers enclosed within an involucre of fused bracts, cyathia terminal or axillary, 1 or in cyme-like arrays. Flower: unisexual, +- radial; sepals 0 or 2--6, free or fused; petals generally 0(5); stamens 1--many, free or filaments fused; ovary superior, chambers (1)3(4), styles free or fused, undivided, forked, or variously lobed. Fruit: generally capsule that splits into mericarps that then dehisce, releasing seeds. Seed: 1 per chamber; knob-like appendage sometimes present at attachment scar.
Genera In Family: 217 genera, 6000+ species: +- worldwide especially tropics; some cultivated (Aleurites, tung oil; Euphorbia species; Hevea, rubber; Ricinus). Toxicity: Many species +- highly TOXIC, due primarily to latex, especially if eaten or in contact with skin, eyes. Note: Eremocarpus moved to Croton, Tetracoccus moved to Picrodendraceae for TJM2; Chamaesyce moved to Euphorbia here (key to genera revised by Thomas J. Rosatti).
eFlora Treatment Author: Mark H. Mayfield & Grady L. Webster, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: EuphorbiaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: SPURGE
Habit: Annual to shrub [tree; fleshy, +- cactus-like], glabrous or hairy; sap milky; generally monoecious. Stem: prostrate to erect, generally < 1 m; branches arrayed around main stem(s) in 3-dimensions or 2-ranked, resulting in 2-faced stems with adaxial leaf faces all displayed to top side and abaxial leaf faces to bottom side. Leaf: proximal cauline, alternate or opposite, +- sessile to petioled; distal-most cauline in some species whorled, subtending umbel-like cluster of inflorescence branches, leafy bracts distal to whorled leaves generally opposite (whorled); stipules 0, gland-like, thread-like, or scale-like, free or fused, entire to divided; blade entire or toothed (pinnately lobed), base symmetric or asymmetric. Inflorescence: 1° inflorescence a cyathium, resembling a flower; cyathia 1--many, stalked or sessile, terminal (axillary), in generally leafy-bracted cyme-like arrays; cyathium a compact unit comprising an involucre of 5 fused bracts enclosing 1--many reduced staminate flowers and 1(0) pistillate flower; involucre generally 1--5 mm, bract tips alternate with 1--5 nectary glands (derived from modified stipules of involucre bracts), these transversely crescent-shaped or oblong to +- round, flat to cup-like, entire, toothed, or with 2 horn-like lobes, with or without distal, white to pink or red, flat, petal-like appendages; bractlets within involucre membranous or thread-like, often fringed. Staminate Flower: (1--4)5--many, generally in 5 clusters around pistillate flower (this difficult to observe); calyx 0; each staminate flower a single stamen jointed to tip of a thread-like pedicel; pedicel persistent, stamen deciduous after pollen released. Pistillate Flower: (0)1, central, stalked; calyx 0; ovary chambers 3, styles 3, free or fused at base, undivided or +- deeply forked. Fruit: stalk generally elongating, generally curved, pushing developing fruit from involucre; capsule +- spheric to ovoid or oblong, in ×-section +- round to 3-lobed or -angled. Seed: +- round or +- 3- or 4-angled (flattened) in ×-section, smooth or sculptured; knob-like appendage at attachment scar present or 0.
Species In Genus: +- 1750 species: warm and/or dry temperate to tropics worldwide. Etymology: Euphorbus, physician to the King of Mauritania, 1st century Note: Forms monophyletic group with Chamaesyce, included here. Euphorbia serrata L. considered extirpated from California; 2003 report that Euphorbia exigua L. is possibly naturalizing as yet unconfirmed; Euphorbia marginata Pursh occasionally persisting from gardens, but recent records lacking. Euphorbia graminea Jacq. an urban weed. For fruit, seeds, "in ×-section" indicated only if not lobed or angled.
eFlora Treatment Author: David J. Keil, Thomas J. Rosatti, Mark H. Mayfield & Daryl Koutnik

Euphorbia serpyllifolia Pers.
NATIVE
Habit: Annual. Stem: prostrate to ascending, repeatedly forking, 2-faced, glabrous or hairy. Leaf: opposite throughout, 2-ranked, subsessile; stipules free, linear, entire or divided; blade 3--14 mm, oblong to ovate, finely toothed, glabrous or hairy, base asymmetric, tip rounded. Inflorescence: cyathia 1 per node or clustered on short, lateral branches, involucre +- 1 mm, bell-shaped, glabrous or hairy; glands 4, < 0.5 mm, transversely oblong; petal-like appendage narrower than gland, entire to scalloped, white. Staminate Flower: 5--18. Pistillate Flower: styles forked < 1/3. Fruit: 1.5--2 mm, ovoid, lobed, glabrous or hairy. Seed: 1--1.5 mm, ovoid, 4-angled, smooth to wrinkled, white to brown; knob 0.

Synonyms: Chamaesyce serpyllifolia (Pers.) Small
eFlora Treatment Author: David J. Keil, Thomas J. Rosatti, Mark H. Mayfield & Daryl Koutnik
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Citation for this treatment: David J. Keil, Thomas J. Rosatti, Mark H. Mayfield & Daryl Koutnik 2016. Euphorbia serpyllifolia, Revision 1, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=25503, accessed on July 27, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on July 27, 2016.


Euphorbia serpyllifolia subsp. hirtula
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Euphorbia serpyllifolia
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Euphorbia serpyllifolia subsp. serpyllifolia
click for enlargement
© 2013 Neal Kramer
Euphorbia serpyllifolia subsp. serpyllifolia
click for enlargement
© 2013 Neal Kramer
Euphorbia serpyllifolia subsp. serpyllifolia
click for enlargement
© 2012 Keir Morse
Euphorbia serpyllifolia subsp. serpyllifolia
click for enlargement
© 2013 Neal Kramer

More photos of Euphorbia serpyllifolia in CalPhotos


Geographic subdivisions for Euphorbia serpyllifolia:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.