Euphorbia maculata

Spotted Spurge

Botanical description: Euphorbia maculata is one of a group of plants that develop into prostrate mats between cracks in the sidewalk. The milky, latex sap of the spotted spurge differentiates it from other carpet weeds, along with a magenta dash in the center of each leaf (although sometimes not present). This diminutive native plant has small oval leaves and greatly reduced flowers that appear June through October. Tiny hairs are found on the leaf surface and along stems. Although the spotted spurge can grow in any soil, it seems to be most visible in the places few other plants would be able to grow, as it is tolerant of poor soils, drought and compaction. Euphorbia thrives in full sun and heat, probably because its taproot is shaded by the plant itself and has found enough moisture below the paving. This prostrate annual disappears soon after a hard frost, after producing enough seed to ensure germination the following year.



Place of Origin

eastern North America