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Cliff Spurge

Euphorbia misera

Euphorbia misera photo © by Michael Plagens

Many large shrubs of this plant were leafy green and flowering on the granite hill near La Cholla, Sonora, Mexico on 4 March 2012.

SHRUB: A woody shrub which is much bigger than any of the ubiquitous prostrate spurges in the Sonoran Desert. At Puerto Peñasco many shrubs were well over a meter tall.
involucre of Euphorbia misera with developing seed capsule.
LEAVES: Broad, elyptic leaves are dark green but can be shed completely if drought conditions exist. There are thread-like stipules where leaf petioles attach to stem.

RANGE: This plant is found in Sonora and southern California and is absent from Arizona.

FRUIT: Dry three-seeded capsule much larger than most other euphorbias in the Sonoran Desert.

FLOWERS: The cup-shaped involucre has five glands with petal-like appendages. Usually one female flower producing fruit and a number of male flowers each of one stamen. A larger, detailed picture of the flower has been shared on Flickr.

UNARMED. No thorns or spines, but sap can be irritating to some people.

Euphorbiaceae -- Spurge Family

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


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 10 March 2012