Ontario Weeds: Hairy-stemmed spurge
Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication
Table of Contents
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.
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.
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