L., Sp. Pl. edn 2:654 (1762).
Synonymy: Not Applicable
Common name: False caper, terracina spurge.
Glabrous erect or ascending perennial, 20-80 cm tall, rigid, branched from the base and middle, green to reddish, woody at the base, containing a bitter milky juice; rays of pseudo-umbel 3-5, each ray up to 5 times dichotomous; each fork and terminal cyathium subtended by a pair of leaves; lower cauline leaves alternate, sessile, not crowded, linear-lanceolate to elliptic-oblong, 15-40 x 4-8 mm, mostly obtuse, mucronate, sometimes truncate-retuse, bright-green, entire or finely serrulate distally; upper cauline leaves acute; ray-leaves resembling the upper cauline but longer, up to 55 x 15 mm; raylet-leaves deflexed, ovate-triangular to semi-orbicular, 13-30 mm long and wide.
Cyathia on peduncles to 1 mm long, 1 or 2 in uppermost axils or 2 or 3 terminally; involucre campanulate, c. 2 mm long and wide, pale-green, with distinct vertical veins (5 or more), lobes between glands ovate, fimbriate; glands lunate to reniform, to 1.5 mm long, entire to slightly undulate, greenish-yellow, with 2 long slender white horns; male flowers 3 or 4 in each fascicle, always only 2 stamens protruding from the involucre by their elongated filament, locules obovate, to 0.5 mm long, dorso-ventrally compressed, basi-fixed, opening by terminal pores; styles cleft to the middle, filiform, capitulate, to 1.5 mm long.
Capsule pendulous on a slender pedicel to 3 mm long, depressed-globular, 3-lobed, 3-5 x 4-5 mm, keeled on the back, smooth, green; seed globose-ovoid, c. 2 x 1.8 mm, with a ventral raphe, smooth, grey, finely mottled brown or black or not; caruncle distinctly peltate, ovoid-carinate, to 1.5 mm long, always white.
Fiori & Paoletti (1901) Iconographia florae Italicae, fig. 2602; Zohary (1972) Flora Palaestina 2:pl. 420; Cunningham et al. (1982) Plants of western New South Wales, p. 459.
S.Aust.: NU, FR, EP, NL, MU, YP, SL, KI, SE. W.Aust.; Qld; N.S.W.; Vic. A Mediterranean species widespread here along roadsides, cleared paddocks, gardens in red earth to sandy places near the coast.
Flowering time: July — Oct.
SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia
It has been suspected of cyanide poisoning stock, causing sudden deaths (Hungerford (1962) Diseases of livestock). The cauline leaves may eventually be shed leaving only the raylet-leaves present (in S.Aust.).
Not yet available