Euphorbia spathulata (Warty Spurge)
|Also known as:||Prairie Spurge, Blunt-leaved Spurge, Reticulate-seeded Spurge|
|Habitat:||sun; open prairies, outcrops, barrens, rocky hills|
|Bloom season:||May - July|
|Plant height:||6 to 18 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Short-stalked, petal-less flowers are single at the tips of branching stems and the upper leaf axils, with separate male and female flowers together in a structure called a cyathium. The female flower is at the tip with 3 spreading, split styles on top of a 3-sectioned round ovary covered in warty bumps. At the base of the ovary are 5 to 8 minute male flowers with yellow stamens.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are up to 1 inch long, finely toothed at least on the tip half, blunt to pointed at the tip, hairless, stalkless and typically yellowish-green. Lower stem leaves are alternate, generally spatula-shaped.
Leaves in the flowering branches are somewhat smaller and more oblong in shape. Flowering branches are forked with a whorl of 3 leaves at the base of the first fork and opposite leaves at the base of other forks. Stems are single and hairless.
Warty Spurge is aptly named, and its warty fruits are unique to the Euphorbia species present in Minnesota.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Renville County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?