Jul. 3, 2020

summer spurge, Euphorbia discoidalis

Are these flowers? The answer is not as straight forward as we might think. Those white features are not petals. They are bracts, analogous to the white parts of flowering dogwood. As with that dogwood, the actual flowers are much smaller, in the center of the bracts. Although here the 'flower' is much smaller, only about a quarter inch across. On the right, you can see a few dried stamens, and above that the strange spurge ovary and pistil. On the left, the successfully fertilized ovary is becoming a capsule. The anthers are still evident at the top. Then there's that little white blob. Apparently the pod was damaged by something, and leaked a little sap. Milky white sap is typical of spurges. And it is toxic. Summer spurge grows in AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, and TX. Colquit Co GA, 10/19/15. Spurge family, Euphorbiaceae.