TREATMENT FROM THE JEPSON MANUAL (1993) previous taxon | next taxon
Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
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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.



Daryl L. Koutnik

Annual, perennial herb, generally monoecious, glabrous to hairy; sap milky
Stem prostrate to erect, < 5 dm; branches alternate
Leaves cauline, opposite, short-petioled; stipules present; blade base generally asymmetric, veins dark green
Inflorescence flower-like, generally 1 per node; involucre ± bell-shaped, bracts 5, fused; glands 4, distal appendages generally colorful, petal-like; flowers central
Staminate flowers 3–many, generally in 5 clusters around pistillate flower, each flower a stamen
Pistillate flower 1, central, stalked; ovary chambers 3, ovule 1 per chamber, styles 3, separate or fused at base, divided to entire
Fruit: capsule, round to 3-angled or -lobed in X -section
Seed generally 4-angled, smooth or sculptured
Species in genus: ± 250 species: dry temp, subtropical worldwide, especially Am. Often treated as subg. of Euphorbia
Etymology: (Greek: ancient name for kind of prostrate plant)
Reference: [Wheeler 1941 Rhodora 43:97–154, 168–286]
Horticultural information: STBL.


C. polycarpa (Benth.) Millsp.

Stem prostrate to ascending, glabrous to hairy
Leaf 1–10 mm; stipules separate, triangular; blade round to ovate, glabrous to hairy, tip acute to obtuse, margin entire
Inflorescence: involucre 1–1.5 mm, bell-shaped, glabrous to hairy; gland < 1 mm, oblong, appendage wider to narrower than gland, entire to scalloped, white to red
Staminate flowers 15–32
Pistillate flower: style divided > 1/2 length
Fruit 1–1.5 mm, spheric, lobed, glabrous to hairy
Seed 1–1.5 mm, ovoid, smooth, white to light brown
Ecology: Common. Dry, sandy slopes and flats
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: Southwestern California, Desert
Distribution outside California: Nevada, Mexico
Flowering time: Most of year
Synonyms: Euphorbia p. Benth
DMoj plants with hairy stems, leaves, involucre have been called var. hirtella (Boiss.) Parish; relationship to glabrous plants needs further study.

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