Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Euphorbia hyssopifolia L.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Flowers. © CSIRO
Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Linnaeus, C. (1759) Systema Naturae Edn. 10, 2: 1048.


Perennial, many-stemmed, mostly erect, branched subshrub to ca. 70 cm tall often with a thick, woody rootstock. Indumentum distinct to absent on vegetative parts, consisting of brownish-pale hairs, 0.2-1 mm long, weakly erect. Whole plant exudes a white latex when damaged.


Leaves opposite, often only apically; interpetiolar stipules 0.7-1.5 mm long, narrowly triangular, united, apically deeply bifid, otherwise quite entire; petioles 1-2 mm long; blades narrowly oblong-elliptic to lanceolate (rarely ovate or obovate), 12-35 x 3-7 mm, chartaceous, base oblique with one side cordate, the other side obtuse-rounded, margin entire or completely or only apically serrate, apex mucronate, papillate-hyaline and appearing grey-silvery below, venation very indistinct, slightly triplinerve, with ca. 8-10 pairs of side veins.


Flowers produced in clusters which are arranged in cymose panicles. Each cluster contains a single female flower surrounded by 7-12 male flowers. Each cluster surrounded by an involucre of bracts ca.1.2 mm long. Male flowers: Each flower consists of an anther and a bract. Anthers ca. 0.5 mm long. Pollen light cream-yellow in colour. Female flowers: Ovary green, stalked and glabrous, ca. 0.5 mm diam. Stigmas 6 or 3, each being 2-lobed.


Fruits glabrous, with a pedicel of 1-1.5 mm; schizocarp 2-2.25 x 2-2.5 mm, sulcate, sometimes with unequal locules. Seeds ca. 1.4 x 0.8 mm, light brown, not papillate but with numerous, distinct circular depressions, ecarunculate.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards into north eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from sea level to 900 m. Grows in rainforest, monsoon forest, Eucalypt forest, vine thicket but also in various types of woodland and in wooded grassland. Also from Japan (Ryukyu Islands), Taiwan, China, Indo-China, Thailand, Malesia, Solomon Islands and the New Hebrides.


Chamaesyce hyssopifolia (L.) Small, Bulletin of the New York Botanic Garden 3(11): 429 (1905). 

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