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

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Euphorbia lathyrus

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 457 (i753).

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Caper sparge.

Erect glabrous more or less glaucous biennial; stems solitary, 50-150 cm tall, 0.5-1.2 cm thick when mature, often with a few sterile branches at the base and numerous terminal fertile branches from upper axils, each fertile branch itself 2-5-branched; leaves opposite, sessile, more or less decussate, linear to oblong-lanceolate, 30-150 x 5-25 mm (to 80 mm long in S.Aust.) acute to obtuse, often mucronulate, sometimes slightly cordate at the base, entire, sometimes slightly recurved, with one prominent nerve, on lower sterile branches smaller; leaves on fertile ray- and raylet-branchlets shorter, triangular-ovate, to 60 x to 40 mm, obtuse, acute or acuminate, base asymmetrically cordate, paler green with several palmate nerves arising from the petiole.

cyathia solitary, terminal in upper axils of fertile branches, on peduncles less than 1 mm long; involucre conical, c. 2.5 mm long, pale-green; glands lunate, c. 2 mm long, with 2 clavate horn-like appendages c. 1 mm long; styles divided to the middle into 2 filiform appendages.

capsule ellipsoid-globose, 3-lobed, 9-13 x 12-16 mm, spongy outside, smooth, rugose when dry, with a longitudinal furrow along each ridge on the back; seed ovoid, 5-6 x c. 4 mm, brown or grey, reticulate-rugulose; caruncle peltate, cup-like.

image of FSA2_Euphorbia_lat.jpg Euphorbia lathyrus twig, cyathium, fruit, coccus and seed.
Image source: fig 401j in Jessop J.P. & Toelken H.R. (Ed.) 1986. Flora of South Australia (4th edn).

Published illustration: Hegi (1924) Illustrierte Flora v on Mittel-Europa 5, 1:fig. 1758; Ross-Craig (1969) Drawings Brit. Pl. 26:pl. 35).

Distribution:    All States.   Native of Europe; sometimes cultivated as an ornamental and naturalised throughout the world.

Conservation status: naturalised

Flowering time: Aug. — Jan.

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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