Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Euphorbia helioscopia
mad woman's milk, summer spurge, sun spurge, wart spurge, wartweed

Distribution: Introduced chiefly west of the Cascades in Washington; widely distributed throughout much of North America.

Habitat: Weed of cultivated areas and abondoned gardens.

Flowers: April-July

Origin: Introduced from Eurasia

Growth Duration: Annual

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Somewhat fleshy annual, the upright stem 2-5 dm. tall, simple or occasionally branched below, umbellately branched near the top, nearly glabrous below but with dense, soft hairs above.


Lower cauline leaves alternate, oblanceolate, narrowed to the base, 1-3 cm. long, finely serrate-dentate; floral leaves opposite or whorled, finely toothed.


Flowers naked in obconic involucres, these bearing 4 greenish-yellow glands alternate with horn-less lobes; staminate flowers numerous, included in the involucre, represented by a single stamen; pistillate flower single, protruded from the involucre.


Capsule 3-celled, smooth.

Accepted Name:
Euphorbia helioscopia L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 459. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Euphorbia helioscopia in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Euphorbia helioscopia checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Euphorbia helioscopia atlas page.

CalPhotos: Euphorbia helioscopia photos.

USDA Plants: Euphorbia helioscopia information.

5 photographs:
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