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Euphorbia cyparissias

Euphorbia cyparissias L.

Galarhoeus cyparissias (L.) Small ex Rydb.

Tithymalus cyparissias (L.) Hill

Cypress Spurge, Spurge

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMalpighialesA broad group encompassing 16,000 species
FamilyEuphorbiaceaeEuphorbia or spurge family
GenusEuphorbiaAn extremely diverse-looking genus of mostly tropical and subtropical succulent plants. For Euphorbus, corpulent Greek physician of Juba II, King of Mauretania. Literally, “euphorbia” means “well-fed”
SpeciescyparissiasDerivded from Greek kuparisso, “spurge;” spurge in turn means “to purge,” for which some species were sometimes used

About plant names...

I think of Euphorbias as being plants, often cactus-like in appearance, from tropical and subtropical climes. But there are many members of this genus, like cypress spurge, that are at home in temperate climates. This plant was introduced as an ornamental to North America from Europe, and it is now naturalized throughout much of North America. In many areas it is considered an invasive.

Identification: Plants are 4-31" (10-80 cm) in height. They are topped by a ball or dome of “flowers” (really bracts, or specialized leaves). New flowers are greenish yellow or yellow, becoming purple or red as they age. Leaves are small and very narrow, needlelike, ¾-1½" (2-4 cm) × ¹/₃₂-¹/₁₆" (1-2 mm).

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones Plants emit a milky sap when broken that irritates eyes, mouth, and skin.

Online References:

Euphorbia cyparissias at Minnesota Wildflowers

Euphorbia cyparissias on CalPhotos

Euphorbia cyparissias on Wikipedia

Euphorbia cyparissias on the USDA Plants Database

Euphorbia cyparissias on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Euphorbia cyparissias at the Bugwood Wiki

Euphorbia cyparissias on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Euphorbia cyparissias at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Euphorbia cyparissias (Cypress Spurge, Spurge)

5/24/2010 · Eastern Promenade, Portland, ME
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm) ID is uncertain

Euphorbia cyparissias (Cypress Spurge, Spurge)

7/7/2017 · Eastern Promenade, Portland, ME ID is uncertain

Euphorbia cyparissias description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 May 2016.

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Euphorbia cyparissias (Cypress Spurge, Spurge)

6/9/2016 · Monhegan Island, ME

Euphorbia cyparissias (Cypress Spurge, Spurge)

5/7/2016 · Long Cove Cottages, Tenant’s Harbor, ME

Euphorbia cyparissias (Cypress Spurge, Spurge)

5/7/2016 · Long Cove Cottages, Tenant’s Harbor, ME

Euphorbia cyparissias (Cypress Spurge, Spurge)

5/6/2016 · Long Cove Cottages, Tenant’s Harbor, ME

Euphorbia cyparissias (Cypress Spurge, Spurge)

5/6/2016 · Long Cove Cottages, Tenant’s Harbor, ME

Range: Zones 4-8:

About this map...