Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata) Seed Pods

April 21st, 2012. Euphorbia corollata is known by the common names Flowering Spurge or Eastern Flowering Spurge. It’s widespread in Georgia. It blooms from Spring through to the Fall.

An individual plant. The plants grow about 18 inches tall in our area. They seems to bloom more profusely in the Fall than in the Spring.

A closer view of the flowers. They are small but quite striking. It’s worth taking a closer look at them. The flowers are about 1/4 inches in diameter but stand out because of their simple. ‘clean’ structure.

A fertilized flower. The ovary is just starting to swell

A closer view. The ovary is developing above the petal-like bracts. It’s visible as a swollen green structure just below the stigmas.

What is unusual about this seed pod is that it develops on a stalk above the flower. I’d never noticed this before.

A small, developing, stalked seed pod.

The seed pods are swelling. When ripe the seed pods explode to catapult the seeds into the surrounding area.

Euphorbia corollata
(Flowering Spurge) is native to the eastern United States and Canada. It grows in states including and east of Ontario, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. In Georgia they have been documented in more northern counties. However, I’ve seen them in many counties in the Piedmont area.

I haven’t paid enough attention to these flowers. I’ll have to remedy that in the future.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

- Southeastern Flora: Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata)

- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Euphorbia corollata

- Missouri Plants: Euphorbia corollata

Distribution Map:

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Euphorbia corollata (Flowering Spurge)

University of North Carolina Herbarium: Euphorbia corollata

Related posts:
- Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata)


Nellie said...

Very interesting. I've never noticed petals staying on a fertilized flower so long.
I don't think we have them here in the Ohio Valley.

JSK said...

The 'petals' are actually petal-like bracts. I've updated the post to reflect that. These types of bracts occur on a number of euphorbias. This species is widely distributed throughout the eastern U.S. but it's easy to overlook.