Ontario Weeds: Hairy-stemmed spurge

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Flowers and Fruit
  7. Habitat
  8. Similar Species
  9. For more information...

Name: Hairy-stemmed spurge, Euphorbia vermiculata Raf.,

Other Names: euphorbe vermiculée. euphorbe hirsute

Family: Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae)

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Hairy-stemmed spurge.

Hairy-stemmed spurge.
Hairy-stemmed spurge.

Stems & Roots: Stems prostrate or somewhat ascending, up to 40cm (16in.) long, branching from near the base and throughout (similar to Thyme-leaved spurge), reddish-green, and with scattered long hairs throughout; leaves opposite, ovate to lanceolate, 3.5-20mm (1/8-4/5in.) long with minutely serrated (saw-toothed) margins and asymmetrical (uneven) bases; petioles 0.5-1mm (1/50-1/25in.).

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers in complex inflorescences called cyathia, as described for Spotted spurge, each cyathium very small and producing a single fruit or seedpod that is 1-2mm (1/25-1/12in.) long and wide, smooth, strongly 3-lobed and containing 3 seeds; seeds gray or pale brown, 1-1.5mm (1/25-3/50in.) and sharply angled. The entire plant, except its seeds, contains a white, milky juice. Flowers from July to September.

Habitat: Hairy-stemmed spurge grows in dry open soil in fields, gardens, lawns, roadsides, pathways and waste places such as along railroad lines in southern Ontario.

Similar Species: It is distinguished from other prostrate weeds by the following: from Purslane by its milky juice, less succulent stems and leaves, and its opposite leaves; from the prostrate knotweeds which often have reddish stems by having milky juice, opposite leaves and no ocrea; from Carpetweed by having opposite leaves rather than whorls of 3 to 8 leaves at each node; and from other prostrate spurges by its usually prostrate hairy stems and its sharply angled seeds.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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