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Sonoran Sandmat

Chamaesyce micromera

Chamaesyce micromera photo © by Michael Plagens

This specimen was found blooming in Vekol Valley, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA on 10 Aug. 2008.

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ANNUAL: Prostrate herb growing during warm season after rains. Specimens may spread out along the soil up to 50 cm.

RANGE: Found along washes and sandy desert flats after warm season rains. Common along with several other similar species of Chamaesyce. Ranges from California to Texas.

LEAVES: The leaves are opposite, elyptic and mostly smooth on the margins. Color may be reddish-green, especially after drought or cold.

FLOWERS: The glands around the involucre do not have appendages or are very small. The glands, however, are rather large and red. A plant with many flowers appears red-green. 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. The surrounding glands form the rim of the bell-shaped involucre.

FRUIT: Capsules are small and usu. beset with minute hairs (magnification needed). 2 mm.

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

Euphorbiaceae -- Spurge Family

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008