Thursday, August 22, 2013

Euphorbia thymifolia – Thyme-leaf Sandmat

Euphorbia thymifolia - Thyme-leaf Sandmat Spurge

Euphorbia thymifolia (synonym: Chamaesyce thymifolia) is an unassuming little annual native from Mexico to Argentina, the West Indies, and the paleotropics (Africa and Asia). It has been introduced in the Hawaiian islands and is considered by some to have been introduced in Florida, but the Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants lists it as native. I have observed it at three sites in Florida: (1) in pavement cracks in downtown Tampa; (2) near the mouth of a gopher tortoise burrow in a sandhill habitat in Tampa; and (3) in a highly disturbed old field that had originally been sand scrub at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County.

Euphorbia thymifolia - Thyme-leaf Sandmat Spurge
A young plant growing under very harsh conditions in a tiny crack in the street in front of my house.

As is the case with most annual, weedy spurges formerly in the genus Chamaesyce, it is very easily grown and, once introduced into a garden, you will likely have it forever. Although it can be a weed of potted plants, thus far it has not been a problem in the garden. Certainly, it is nowhere near as aggressive and abundant as the quadrumvirate of weedy spurges in my yard that can sometimes number in the hundreds: Euphorbia graminea, Euphorbia hirta, Euphorbia hypericifolia, and Euphorbia ophthalmica.

Euphorbia thymifolia - Thyme-leaf Sandmat Spurge

Images and text © 2013 Rufino Osorio

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