Chiricahua Mountain Sandmat

Chamaesyce florida

Chamaesyce florida scan image © by Michael Plagens

Rackensack Canyon, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA on 03 Aug. 2008. A full resolution scan image has been contributed to Wikimedia Commons.

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RANGE: Found on rocky slopes and along washes in canyons from central Arizona through southeastern Arizona. In the Sonoran Desert mostly at the upper elevations above 900 m.

ANNUAL: Upright herbaceous annual appearing with warm weather depending on available moisture. Generally less than 50 cm.

LEAVES: The leaves are linear and are opposite on the stems. Checking the leaves with good magnification will reveal minute teeth along the margins. Copious white sap erupts from any tear or break.

FLOWERS: What at first appears to be a lovely little flower barely a 4 mm in diameter is actually an involucre enclosing a number of male staminate flowers and one pistillate female flower. The surrounding glands and the white to pink lobed appendages form the rim of the vase-shaped involucre.

FRUIT: Capsules are relatively large and are smooth, without hairs, ca. 2 mm.

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

Euphorbiaceae -- Spurge Family

More Information:

Chamaesyce florida fruit and inflorescence photo © by Michael Plagens

An involucre with developing fruit, a capsule with three seeds. Catalina State Park, July 2016.

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 6 Aug. 2008,
updated 26 Nov. 2016.