Euphorbia peplus L.
Europe and Asia
This is an erect, bright green herb, usually no higher than 20cm. It mostly has only one stem at the base which is red/green, smooth and hairless. The stem divides into branches and each branch divides 3-5 times.
The stem leaves grow alternately however the leaves on the upper branches are opposite. Leaves are quite variable in shape and are pear-shaped to triangular or rhombic.
The flower is green and is a very small cyathia which is a reduced unisexual flower surrounded by bracts (modified leaves). The flowers are very difficult to see as they look, at a glance, like new leaves forming at the end of each stem.
This plant flowers most of the year.
The seed capsule is also green and around 2 mm across.
The stem when broken or when a leaf is removed exudes a white sticky sap.
This is a very common weed.
Other plants easily confused with this plant
This plant is quite distinctive.
Sources & References
"Weeds - an illustrated botanical guide to weeds of Australia" by B. A. Auld and R. W. Medd
"Flora of New South Wales" editor Gwen J. Harden, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
"Gardener's Companion to Weeds" by Suzanne Ermert and Leigh Clapp
Prepared by Justin KY Chu, July 2005
Checked by IEWF, July 2006