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Flowering Spurge, Blooming Spurge, Emetic Root - Euphorbia corollata


Family: Euphorbiaceae - Spurge family Genus Common Name: Spurge Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Euphorbia corollata - Flowering Spurge, Blooming Spurge, Emetic Root. I have just a slight doubt as to whether this is Euphorbia corollata (Flowering Spurge) or E. pubentissima (False Flowering Spurge,) both of which look almost identical in the photographs I've found, and I have not found a description of E. pubentissima sufficiently detailed to allow me to make a feature by feature comparison. The one observation I had that seemed a possible difference is that many of the site which seemed more authoritative showed E. pubentissima with fewer blossoms terminating the stems; occasionally only one. That, plus the fact that I couldn't find anything that indicates that this is not E. corollata has led me to make the call that this is Flowering Spurge. If anyone can point me to good information on differentiation of these two species, I would greatly appreciate it - email me.

The common name Spurge for members of the Euphorbia species is reported to come from the French word meaning purge - this plant has some strong medicinal and potentially poisonous properties, so do not ingest it. Further, the milky white sap is reported to be highly irritating to the skin, possibly even causing blistering. So carefully inspect it closely; it is an interesting plant.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

Journal Articles Referencing Spurge

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Check here for more information about Euphorbia corollata.
Euphorbia corollata

Distribution of Euphorbia corollata in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 24 Jun 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Haywood County, NC Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D60
The white structures that look like petals are actually appendages to the central cup-shaped structure (the cyathium) which contain the individual flowers in the blossom cluster. Thus each of what looks like a single flower to us is actually a cluster of flowers.
Euphorbia corollata

Site: Haywood County, NC Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The orangish appendages in the middle of the blossom are the flowers of this very interesting plant
Click on the photo for a larger image
Euphorbia corollata

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2010-August-28Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The stem leaves are alternate except for the ones just below the inflorescence, where they are typically opposing.
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Euphorbia corollata

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
A single flower in the cyathium the central cup within the center of the blossom structure - is female, producing the 3-lobed seedpod.
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Euphorbia corollata

Site: Haywood County, NC Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The stem leaves of Flowering Spurge are linear, oblong, or in some cases somewhat spatulate as is shown here.
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Euphorbia corollata

Site: Haywood County, NC Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
The leaves where the stems split are whorled.
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Euphorbia corollata

Site: Haywood County, NC Date: 2010-July-12Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
Flowering Spurge can be quite crowded, here sharing space with a Leather Vasevine (Clematis viorna). It can grow to 3 feet tall or more, but is more normally around 2 feet tall, frequently much shorter.
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Euphorbia corollata

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer