Prostrate Spurge

Close view showing one horizontal branch of a prostrate spurge plant; photographed July 8th, 2007Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)

Genus: Euphorbia | Species: humistrata and supina

Description: This is an ascending, extensively-branching, mat-forming summer annual found mostly during June and July in Maine. Germination of its seeds occurs when soil temperatures warm to 60 to 65°F and can continue as soil temperatures climb to more than 90°F. The ‘prostrate’ stems and leaves exude a milky sap when injured or broken.  The pale green leaves are opposite and oblong (or somewhat egg-shaped or linear) and are only sometimes spotted (like the one pictured at left) or even hairy. The plant has a shallow taproot with secondary fibrous roots.  The stems persist for only a short time after frost. [annual]

Habitat: Landscapes, turfgrass, cultivated fields, gardens and waste areas; Survives on dry or sandy, low-nutrient soil and on compacted or disturbed sites;

Photo of prostrate spurge beside a U.S. dime for scale purposes Photo of a prostrate spurge plant with a U.S. dime for scale purposes