Euphorbia hirta

Euphorbia hirta L.

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Habit: Euphorbia hirta grows as erect or sprawling herb covered in articulate hairs, to 0.5 m in height (typically shorter).  The leaves are arranged oppositely, ovate to elliptical lanceolate, to 5 cm in length with an acute leaf apex, serrate along the upper leaf margin and oblique leaf base. Often the leaves will have a reddish color. At the base of the petiole are 2 hairy, linear stipules.

The incomplete, imperfect, monoecious, actinomorphic, flowers are arranged in tight clusters of cyathia that have tiny, red glands along the edges and occur in the axils of leaves. There is no calyx or corolla. Staminate flowers are reduced to a single stamen.  Carpellate flowers are reduced to a single superior carpel, each with 3 locules and numerous seeds.  The fruit is a capsule at maturity that splits along 3 suture lines.

Habitat: Euphorbia hirta grows in Human Altered environments including roadsides, fields and yards

Distribution: Euphorbia hirta occurs throughout the island groupings of the Lucayan Archipelago, Florida, the entire Caribbean region and tropical and subtropical regions around the world.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Euphorbia hirta is not used medicinally in the Bahamas but has been used in other parts of the Caribbean to treat fevers, treat respiratory problems and urological issues.