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Flowers & fruit

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Chamaesyce serpyllifolia - thymeleaf sandmat

Other Common Names: spurge
Plant Form: Forb or Subshrub

Family: Euphorbiaceae

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Leaves and fruit
Max Licher @, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
Max Licher @, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Annual
General Desc: This prostrate annual forb spreads up to 1 foot wide in a mat with reddish stems. It can be found in varied habitat types and in many areas grows as a roadside weed. Milky sap of spurge plants is a skin irritant and can be toxic.
Identification notes: Seeds are smooth, or irregularly and obscurely roughened or pitted. Stamens 5 to 18 per flower. Leaf margins minutely serrate at the apex.
Height: 2 to 3 inches


Habitat Description: Sandy hillsides, desert grasslands, dry washes, and disturbed areas.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Riparian, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 1500 - 4600 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: White     Shape: Regular in round clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: Jun - Aug
Description: The flowers are tiny and cup shaped with white petal-like appendages surrounding the actual flowers. There are 4 male flowers and a single female flower, the latter developing into a lobed, hairy fruit capsule.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Round or oval     Leaf Margin: Toothed     Leaf Attachment: Alternate and opposite     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: No     Spines: N
Leaf Description: Leaves are opposite with serrated margins on the upper half and are often red along the midveins.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Green to red   
Fruit Type: Capsule
Fruit Notes: Seed capsules are oval, lobed, and hairy.
Seed Notes: Tiny seeds are ovoid and white to brown.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Content Questions/Comments: Email Mary Barnes  
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