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Euphorbia ophthalmica Pers.
Family Euphorbiaceae
Common name: Florida Hammock Sandmat (USA)

Euphorbia ophthalmica Pers. APNI*

Synonyms: Chamaesyce ophthalmica (Pers.) D.G.Burch APNI*

Description: Prostrate annual or perennial herb, stems several, pinkish to yellowish, forming dense mats to 45 cm in diameter, hairy, hairs pink to orange.

Leaves ovate to rhombiform, up to 15 mm long and 12 mm wide, margin prominently serrate, base asymmetric, apex obtuse, midrib prominent on lower surface, tomentose at least on lower surface, green; stipules of several linear segments, ± fused as base, up to 1.5 mm long.

Cyathia terminal; glands pink, c. 0.2 mm diameter; appendages inconspicuous.

Capsule ovoid, c. 1 mm long, 1 mm wide; seeds c. 0.8 mm long, 0.4 mm wide, red-brown, transversely ridged, 4-angled.

Photo J. Miles

Photo J. Miles

Other photo
Photo J. Miles

Distribution and occurrence: Naturalised records from Lismore, Yamba, Bellingen (NC), Uralla - Bendemeer area (NT), Baulkham Hills (CC). Native of tropical America.

Weed of gardens and disturbed places.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *SC, *NT
Other Australian states: *Qld
AVH map***

Euphorbia ophthalmica is easily distinguished from the native Australian Euphorbia species by its indumentum of long yellowish coloured hairs on stems and petioles. Euphorbia ophthalmica can be distinguished from E. hirta by its slender, prostrate habit, generally shorter leaf blade (to 1.5 cm long) and terminal flower-heads. Euphorbia hirta has a decumbent to almost erect habit, leaf blades are to 4.5 cm long and flower-heads are axillary and terminal.

Text by D.M. Crayn; based on Chamaesyce ophthalmica, fide Burch, D. (1966). Two new species of Chamaesyce (Euphorbiaceae), new combinations, and a key to the Caribbean members of the genus. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Gardens 53: 90-99; notes by S.F. McCune (2020)
Taxon concept: Halford, D.A. & Harris, W.K. (2012), A taxonomic revision of Euphorbia section Anisophyllum Roeper (Euphorbiaceae) in Australia. Austrobaileya 8(4): 530-532; accepted by APC (accessed January 2017)

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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