Created 10-Jan-18
Modified 11-Jan-18
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Euphorbia lathyris

Caper Spurge

New Zealand Status: Introduced
Conservation Status: N/A

Euphorbia lathyris is an annual herb that grows erect to about 1.2 metres high with a glaucous blue-green stem. It has a sticky, milky-white, latex sap. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and most livestock.

The lower leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, lanceolate 50 - 150mm long and 10 - 25mm wide, glaucous blue-green with a waxy texture and pale greenish-white midrib and veins. Upper leaves are broader.

The flowers are green to yellow-green, 4mm in diameter with no petals, monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female) but both genders occur on the same plant. Pollination is by flies. Bracts are oval-triangular, pointed, bright green. The seeds are green ripening to brown or grey, produced in globular clusters 13 - 17mm in diameter of three seeds compressed together.
Euphorbia lathyris, Caper Spurge FlowerEuphorbia lathyris, Caper Spurge FruitsEuphorbia lathyris, Mature Seed PodEuphorbia lathyris, Seeds