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caper spurge, gopher plant, gopher spurge, mole plant

Habit Herbs, annual or biennial, with taproot.
Stems

erect, unbranched or branched, 200 cm, glabrous, glaucous.

Leaves

opposite, decussate;

petiole absent;

blade linear to oblong-lanceolate, 30–120 × 3–25 mm, base acute, rounded, cordate or clasping, margins entire, apex acute or subobtuse, sometimes mucronate, surfaces glabrous, abaxial ± glaucous;

venation pinnate, midvein prominent.

Involucre

campanulate, 1.2–2.3 × 1.4–2.5 mm, glabrous;

glands 4, elliptic, 0.3–0.6 × 1–1.3 mm;

horns divergent, thick, tips rounded, dilated, 0.5–1.4 mm.

Staminate flowers

25–30.

Pistillate flowers

ovary glabrous;

styles 0.7–2.2 mm, 2-fid.

Capsules

depressed-globose, 9–12 × 12–16 mm, deeply 3-lobed, tardily dehiscent and appearing indehiscent, mesocarp spongy;

cocci rounded, smooth, glabrous;

columella 4–5.2 mm.

Seeds

brownish or blackish, oblong, 4.5–6 × 3–4.2 mm, rugose, irregularly reticulate;

caruncle substipitate, hat-shaped, 1.6–2 × 1.2–1.5 mm.

Cyathial

arrangement: terminal pleiochasial branches 2–4, each 1–2 times 2-branched;

pleiochasial bracts cordate-lanceolate, shorter and wider than distal leaves;

dichasial bracts distinct, ovate-oblong to lanceolate, base subcordate, margins entire, apex acute;

axillary cymose branches 0–10.

Cyathia

peduncle 0–0.5 mm.

Euphorbia lathyris

Phenology Flowering and fruiting winter–fall.
Habitat Roadsides, cultivated fields, stream banks, waste places.
Elevation 0–1800 m. [0–5900 ft.]
Distribution
from FNA
AZ; CA; CT; ID; IL; MA; MD; MT; NC; OH; OR; PA; SC; TN; TX; VA; WA; WV; BC; ON; QC; Europe; Asia; Africa [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Mexico, South America, Australia]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
Discussion

Euphorbia lathyris is most likely native to the central and eastern Mediterranean region, but it is widely cultivated and often locally escaped in temperate regions worldwide, as in the flora area.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 12, p. 304.
Parent taxa Euphorbiaceae > Euphorbia > subg. Esula
Sibling taxa
E. aaron-rossii, E. abramsiana, E. acuta, E. agraria, E. albomarginata, E. alta, E. angusta, E. antisyphilitica, E. arizonica, E. astyla, E. austrotexana, E. bicolor, E. bifurcata, E. bilobata, E. blodgettii, E. bombensis, E. brachycera, E. capitellata, E. carunculata, E. chaetocalyx, E. chamaesula, E. cinerascens, E. commutata, E. conferta, E. cordifolia, E. corollata, E. crenulata, E. cumulicola, E. cuphosperma, E. curtisii, E. cyathophora, E. cyparissias, E. davidii, E. deltoidea, E. dendroides, E. dentata, E. discoidalis, E. eriantha, E. exigua, E. exserta, E. exstipulata, E. falcata, E. fendleri, E. florida, E. floridana, E. garberi, E. georgiana, E. geyeri, E. glyptosperma, E. golondrina, E. gracillima, E. graminea, E. helioscopia, E. helleri, E. heterophylla, E. hexagona, E. hirta, E. hooveri, E. humistrata, E. hypericifolia, E. hyssopifolia, E. indivisa, E. innocua, E. inundata, E. ipecacuanhae, E. jaegeri, E. jejuna, E. laredana, E. lasiocarpa, E. lata, E. longicruris, E. lurida, E. macropus, E. maculata, E. marginata, E. meganaesos, E. melanadenia, E. mendezii, E. mercurialina, E. mesembrianthemifolia, E. micromera, E. misera, E. missurica, E. myrsinites, E. nephradenia, E. nutans, E. oblongata, E. ocellata, E. ophthalmica, E. ouachitana, E. parishii, E. parryi, E. pediculifera, E. peplidion, E. peplus, E. perennans, E. pergamena, E. pinetorum, E. platyphyllos, E. platysperma, E. polycarpa, E. polygonifolia, E. polyphylla, E. porteriana, E. prostrata, E. pubentissima, E. purpurea, E. radians, E. rayturneri, E. revoluta, E. roemeriana, E. rosescens, E. schizoloba, E. serpens, E. serpillifolia, E. serrata, E. serrula, E. setiloba, E. simulans, E. spathulata, E. stictospora, E. strictior, E. telephioides, E. terracina, E. tetrapora, E. texana, E. theriaca, E. thymifolia, E. tithymaloides, E. trachysperma, E. trichotoma, E. vallis-mortae, E. velleriflora, E. vermiculata, E. villifera, E. virgata, E. wrightii, E. yaquiana
Synonyms Galarhoeus lathyris, Tithymalus lathyris
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 457. (1753)
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