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Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia species Fact Sheet

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Euphorbia helioscopia

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 459 (1753).

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Sun sparge.

Annual erect or ascending herb to 50 cm tall, 1 to few stems arising from a tap root, with at least a few long fine spreading hairs especially on upper parts, each stem with 3-5 terminal fertile branches which are each usually 3-branched and again 1-3 times forked; stem leaves alternate, obovate-spathulate, 1-4 cm long and wide, obtuse, serrate in the upper half, cuneate or tapering gradually to a short petiole; leaves on branches verticillate, ray- and raylet-leaves opposite, like the cauline leaves but smaller, usually with a few fine hairs above and/or below.

Cyathia single in the base of the fork or 1-3 terminal, supported by orbicular raylet-leaves 3-5 mm long; involucre campanulate, 1.5-2 mm long, on short peduncles to 0.5 mm long; anthers at anthesis protruding from the involucre, globose, to 0.4 mm across, opening longitudinally; styles erect, truncate; glands ellipsoid, c. 0.5 mm long, yellow, without appendages.

Capsule cordate, 3-lobed, 2-3 mm across, glabrous, smooth; seed ovoid, 1.5-2 x c. 1.7 mm, reticulate-rugose, flattened at the apex, brown, with a reniform yellow fleshy caruncle terminally.

image of FSA2_Euphorbia_hel.jpg Euphorbia helioscopia twig, cyathium, fruit and seed.
Image source: fig 401h in Jessop J.P. & Toelken H.R. (Ed.) 1986. Flora of South Australia (4th edn).

Published illustration: Fiori & Paoletti (1901) Inconographia florae Italicae, fig. 2593; Ross-Craig (1969) Drawings Brit. Pl. 26:pl. 39.

Distribution:  S.Aust.: EP, NL, YP, SL.   Native to Europe and central and eastern Asia, naturalised in North America and New Zealand.

Conservation status: naturalised

Flowering time: July — Oct.

SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia

Biology: No text

Author: Not yet available

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