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Spotted Sandmat

Chamaesyce maculata

Chamaesyce micromera photo © by Michael Plagens

This specimen was found blooming in Vekol Valley, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA on 10 Aug. 2008. At upper left is an enlarged view of an involucre, with a seed capsule, and a seed removed showing the ridges on the seed.

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ANNUAL: Prostrate to erect herb growing during warm season after rains. Specimens may be up to 50 cm. tall. Milky sap readily oozes from injuries.

RANGE: Found along washes, roadsides and rocky slopes. Also gardens and agricultural areas. Widespread species across North America sometimes weedy in habit.

LEAVES: The leaves are elyptic and appearing smooth on margins but with magnification finely serrated. A reddish green spot may appear near center of leaf particularily after cold or drought.

FLOWERS: The appendages around the summit of the involucre are normally very small. What at first appears to be a minute flower barely a mm in diameter is actually an involucre enclosing a number of male staminate flowers and one pistillate female flower.

FRUIT: Capsules are small and usu. with hairs, < 1 mm., and with three ridged seeds (magnification needed).

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

Euphorbiaceae -- Spurge Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008