Milk Purslane

Milk_Purslane_jpgThis large family (Euphorbiaceae) commonly called the Spurge Family consists of 321 genera and 7,950 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees found mostly in tropical and subtropical regions.  A family members (Hevea brasiliensis) supplies most of the world’s rubber. The family also includes poinsettia, castor bean, croton, Mexican jumping beans. Euphorbus was the Greek Physician of King Juba of Numidia, a Roman province in North Africa.  Spurge is derived from Old French espurgier–to purge. Milk Purslanes, and other member of this family, are abundant weeds in lawns and gardens. The seeds contain the protein ricin, which causes serious poisoning or death when ingested.

OtherCommonName:

Ground Fig, Black-Pusley, Glack Spurge, Eyebane, Emetic Weed, Blotched Spurge, Wart-Weed

ScientificName:

Euphorbia maculata

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Annual

PlantHeight:

Prostrate to 15 inches

FruitingTime:

Late July to October

Distribution:

Quebec to Florida ~ West to North Dakota ~ Statewide in NJ

FloweringTime:

Late June to late September

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Prostrate often forming circular mats ~ Leaves dark green, often with red spots, oblong ~ Small flowers with bracts (specialized leaf or leaflike part usually situated at the base of the flower) around them