Euphorbia ophthalmica

Euphorbia ophthalmica Pers.

Common Names: Sandmat Spurge

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Habit: Euphorbia ophthalmica grows as a low, slightly pubescent, annual herb up to 30 cm in height (typically shorter). The leaves are arranged oppositely, up to 3 cm in length, ovate and asymmetrical, with a serrate leaf margin and an acuminate leaf apex. At the base of the petiole are short lived triangular/lanceolate stipules.  The vegetation is can be reddish, and slightly pubescent.

The incomplete, imperfect, monoecious, actinomorphic, are arranged in pubescent cyathia in clusters in leaf axils. There are 5 very small (almost invisible) purple glands on the edge of the cyathia. 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 pubescent capsule at maturity that splits along 3 suture lines.

Habitat: Euphorbia ophthalmica grows in Human Altered environments (yards, abandoned fields, nurseries, and disturbed/burned-over Pine Woodlands.

Distribution: Euphorbia ophthalmica occurs throughout the island groupings of the Lucayan Archipelago, the Caribbean region, Mexico, parts of Central and South America, Florida, and Georgia.  It has naturalized across parts of the rest of the United States.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Euphorbia ophthalmica is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

All parts of the species are extremely toxic and should not be ingested!!