Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Euphorbiaceae >>> Chamaesyce albomarginata

Rattlesnake Weed

Chamaesyce albomarginata

 

Watercolor © by Michael Plagens

Watercolor from live specimen.

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ANNUAL/PERENNIAL: Grows prostrate - slithering on the ground like a rattlesnake.

LEAVES: The leaves are opposite on the stems. The leaf margins are smooth. White latex-sap emerges from breaks in tissue.

RANGE: Common on rocky slopes and along desert washes in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and ranging up to 2000+ m elevation.

FLOWERS: Minute flowers are borne in groups within an involucre. What appears to be petals are petal-like glands borne on the rim of the involucre. Flowers appear by mid spring and can be found through Nov. depending on rainfall.

UNARMED: No thorns, but the milky sap can be a skin/eye irritant.

FRUIT: Small capsules, ca. 2.5 mm, are smooth, three-parted and each contains usu. three seeds. These seeds inside require high magnification to see their smooth surface.

Euphorbiaceae -- Spurge Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008