E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Euphorbia helioscopia L.
summer spurge (madwoman's milk)
Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Robert Flogaus-Faust  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26245)

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Distribution of Euphorbia helioscopia
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Species Information

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Annual herb from a fibrous root; stems somewhat fleshy, simple or branched below, branched in an umbrella-shape above, sparsely hairy below to densely hairy above, with milky juice, 20-50 cm tall.
Stem leaves alternate, fleshy, lower leaves oblanceolate to spoon-shaped, narrowing gradually to the base, 1.5-3 cm long, finely toothed; floral leaves opposite to whorled, finely toothed.
Inflorescence of usually 5-rayed umbrella-shaped clusters; involucres about 2.5 mm long; glands 4, greenish-yellow, not horned.
Capsules, glabrous; seeds egg-shaped, about 2 mm long, yellowish-brown to brownish-black, finely pitted, narrowly ridged.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry roadsides, fields and waste places in the lowland and montane zones; rare in SW BC and SE BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Galarhoeus helioscopius (L.) Haw.
Tithymalus helioscopius (L.) Hill

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References