Dec. 24, 2020

roadside sandmat, Euphorbia lasiocarpa

Looks just like a poinsettia, doesn't it? OK, not so much if you're not a botanist. Plants in Euphorbia are amazingly varied, but all share the same floral structure. You can see it if you look at that poinsettia in the living room. They have clusters of flowers that are bare essentials. There are separate male and female flowers within the clusters, both reduced to either pistils or stamens. The white you see here, or the red on poinsettias are bracts adapted from leaves. Growth forms in the more than 2000 Euphorbia are incredibly varied. Sandmats sprawl on the ground, with stems maybe a foot long. I've seen poinsettias more than one story tall. Other than the flowers, there is one constant rule. Wash your hands if you've handled them. Get sap on your fingers and rub your eyes, and you will be transported - to the ER. If you're stubborn enough about it, you might do it more than once. Roadside sandmat grows in sandy, rocky or disturbed spots in FL, then around the tropics. The alternative common name of halaviouv se'ir-pri might give you a sense of how wide-spread it gets. St. Lucie Co FL, 1/27/13. Spurge family, Euphorbiaceae.