Some European Spurges

Description of a (very) small selection of Euphorbia from Europe, focused on Mediterranean French species.
AVAILABLE IN PDF (English or french). Please ask me in PM.

At the request of Tchelet (@trh_blue), I looked for some species that I had the opportunity to observe. It is by no means an exhaustive work, but rather an insight and criteria allowing identificatio. These items are shown in bold. Please let me know if you notice any mistakes.

I thank Sylvain Piry (@ curcu34) for allowing me to use his remarkable photographs and for the proofreading.


Euphorbia amygdaloides
Wood Spurge

Description (Coste):

  • Perennial 30-80 cm, pubescent, thick-stemmed, usually smaller than E. characias
  • stems sub-woody and bare at the base, ascending, with flowering branches under the umbel
  • leaves oblong or obovate wedge-shaped, entire, the lower ones forming a rosette, thick, persistent, the upper ones scattered, soft, deciduous
  • umbel with 5-10 rays
  • bracts fused together in pairs to form a concave orbicular disc
  • yellow glands, with long horns, awl-shaped, converging
  • capsule 4 mm, glabrous, deeply sulcate, punctate
  • seeds ovoid, blackish, smooth.

Ecology: Cool and shady places, woods, altitude up to 1,600 m

Distribution : Southern and central Europe, western Asia, Algeria.
https://www.gbif.org/fr/species/3065239

Flowering: April-june.

Illustrations:
https://www.tela-botanica.org/eflore/?referentiel=bdtfx&niveau=2&module=fiche&action=fiche&num_nom=75121&type_nom=&nom=&onglet=illustrations

Sylvain Piry (@curcu34)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65937147
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65937265

Guillaume Dugied (@mercantour)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/67047714
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/48701051
Euphorbia characias
Large Mediterranean Spurge

Description (Coste):

  • Perennial 40-120 cm, densely tomentose, thick-stemmed, caespitose, usually larger than E. amygdaloides
  • stems woody and bare at the bottom, very robust, erect
  • leaves very close together, linear or oblanceolate, entire, though, persistent
  • umbel with numerous and short rays
  • bracts connate in pairs to the middle in a concave orbicular disc
  • reddish-brown glands, truncated-notched with at most short and thick horns
  • capsule 3-6 mm, very hairy, with non-furrowed hulls
  • seeds oblong, grey, smooth, wattled

Ecology: Dry and arid places, altitude up to 1,200 m
Used as ornemantal plant

Distribution: France (South, up to Drôme, Aveyron, Tarn-et-Garonne, Corse), Spain and Portugal, Baleares, Italy, Sicilia, Crete, Marocco.
https://www.gbif.org/fr/species/3067353

Flowering: March-june

Illustrations:
https://www.tela-botanica.org/eflore/?referentiel=bdtfx&niveau=2&module=fiche&action=fiche&num_nom=25806&type_nom=&nom=&onglet=illustrations

Sylvain Piry (@curcu34)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65937296

Guillaume Dugied (@mercantour)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/48041685
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/47998913
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/23639030

Euphorbia cyparissias
Cypress Spurge

Description (Coste):

  • Perennial plant of 20-50 cm, glabrous, light green, rhizomatous : herbaceous, erect stems, with numerous sterile and flowering branches
  • numerous leaves, linear-narrow (1-3 mm), entire, those of the sterile branches narrow and close together in a brush, the umbellars linear
  • umbel with numerous and slender rays
  • broadly ovate-triangular bracts
  • crescent-shaped glands, with 2 short horns
  • capsule of 3 mm, trigonous, glabrous, deeply sulcate
  • seeds ovoid, pale brown, smooth, with rounded caruncle.

Ecology: Cultivated and uncultivated places, mainlyon limestone, altitude up to 2,600 m

Distribution: Almost everywhere in Europe
https://www.gbif.org/fr/species/3070106

Flowering: April-september.

Illustrations:
https://www.tela-botanica.org/eflore/?referentiel=bdtfx&niveau=2&module=fiche&action=fiche&num_nom=25823&type_nom=&nom=&onglet=illustrations
Sylvain Piry (@curcu34)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65932350

Guillaume Dugied (@mercantour)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18535171
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46645621
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/62564410

Euphorbia dendroides
Tree Spurge

Description (Coste):

  • Very branched shrub up to 2 meters or more, glabrous, with spread branches, thick, reddish, dichotomous, bare at the bottom
  • leaves close together, green, scattered, oblong-lanceolate, entire, mucronulate
  • umbel with 5-8 dichotomous rays
  • free bracts, rhombic yellowish
  • yellow glands, truncated-notched, obtuse angles
  • capsule of 5-6 mm, deeply trigonous, glabrous, not tuberculous
  • seeds ovoid, opaque brown, smooth,compreszed, wattled.

Ecology: Mediterranean seashore rocky areas and hillsides, never far from the coast (at most 2-3 km from the sea), altitude up to 400 m

Distribution: Mediterranean littoral, France (Var, Alpes-Maritimes, Corse)
https://www.gbif.org/fr/species/3067398

Flowering: April-june.

Illustrations:
https://www.tela-botanica.org/eflore/?referentiel=bdtfx&niveau=2&module=fiche&action=fiche&num_nom=25825&type_nom=&nom=&onglet=illustrations
Sylvain Piry (@curcu34)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65743247

Guillaume Dugied (@mercantour)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19052111
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20324045
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/21312159

Euphorbia nicaeensis
Nice Spurge

Description (Coste):

  • Perennial plant of 20-60 cm, glabrous and glaucous, with thick stump
  • stems sub-woody and bare at the base, erect, often bearing flowering branches below the umbel
  • leaves scattered, spreading-erect or reflexed, tought, oblong or lanceolate, mucronate, entire
  • umbel with 5-15 bifurcated rays
  • rounded heart-shaped bracts, mucronulate (ie. ending in a spike)
  • crescent-shaped glands, with short, obtuse horns
  • 3-4 mm capsule
  • subglobular, hairless, superficially furrowed, slightly wrinkled hulls
  • seeds ovoid, greyish, smooth, caronculate.

Ecology: Dry and arid places, altitude up to 1,800 m

Distribution: France (Southern part, up to Hautes-Alpes, Drôme, Aveyron), Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Dalmatia, Herzegovine, Algeria.
https://www.gbif.org/fr/species/3065819

Flowering: May-july.

Illustrations:
https://www.tela-botanica.org/eflore/?referentiel=bdtfx&niveau=2&module=fiche&action=fiche&num_nom=75125&type_nom=&nom=&onglet=illustrations
Sylvain Piry (@curcu34)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65878998
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65879034
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65879076

Guillaume Dugied (@mercantour)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/31743500
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/66513985

Euphorbia paralias
Sea Spurge

Description (Coste):

  • 30-60 cm long, glabrous and glaucous perennial plant with long, hard roots.
  • woody stems at the base, erect, often with sterile twigs
  • upright-branched leaves, very numerous, tough, oblong-lanceolate, entire
  • umbel with 3-6 thick rays, dichotomous
  • suborbicular bracts in kidney, thick, mucronulate
  • crescent-shaped, short-horned and emarginate glands
  • 5-6 mm capsule, trigone-depressed, glabrous, deeply sulcate, with granular hulls on the back
  • ovoid seeds, smooth, pearl grey, small caruncles.

Ecology: Sandy sea-shores, dune areas

Distribution: France (seashore of Channel, Atlantic Ocean, Méditerranean sea including Corsica), Mediterranean littoral and western Europe
https://www.gbif.org/fr/species/3069761

Flowering: May-september.

Illustration :
https://www.tela-botanica.org/eflore/?referentiel=bdtfx&niveau=2&module=fiche&action=fiche&num_nom=25991&type_nom=&nom=&onglet=illustrations

Sylvain Piry (@curcu34)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65932310
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65932339

Guillaume Dugied (@mercantour)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22228437
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22159594

Euphorbia spinosa
Spiny Spurge

Description (Coste):

  • Sub-shrub 10-20 cm, glabrous, very bushy, with old, dead branches simulating long thorns.
  • scattered leaves, small (ca. 1 cm long), lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, entire, ray-leaves obovate, yellowish.
  • yellow umbel, with 1-5 short, single rays
  • obovate bracts
  • entire glands
  • capsule about 3 mm, globular, glabrous, weakly sulcate, with long tubercles
  • ovoid seeds, brown, smooth.

Ecology: Dry and stony places, altitude up to 1,800 m

Distribution : France (Provence, Roussillon, Corsica), Mediterranean Europe.
https://www.gbif.org/fr/species/3066151

Flowering: April-june.

Illustrations:
https://www.tela-botanica.org/eflore/?referentiel=bdtfx&niveau=2&module=fiche&action=fiche&num_nom=75127&type_nom=&nom=&onglet=illustrations
Sylvain Piry (@curcu34)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65743353

Guillaume Dugied (@mercantour)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/69932165
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/66927263
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22662284
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/63819737


Euphorbia terracina
Coastal Spurge

Description (Coste):

  • 10 - 70 cm tall perennial plant, glabrous, with a thick stump
  • numerous stems, upright or lying, simple or branched from the base
  • numerous, oval, elliptic-oblong to linear-lanceolate leaves, mucronate, entire or denticulate at the top.
  • umbel with 2-5 rays several times dichotomous
  • bracts broadly deltate-rhombic, mucronate, denticulate
  • greenish, crescent-shaped glands with very long slender horns
  • 3-4 mm capsule, deeply sulcate, glabrous and smooth
  • seeds ovoid-truncated, pale grey, smooth, carunculated
  • Polymorphous specie.

Ecology: Dry sand, gravel and hillsides of the Mediterranean coastline, altitude up to 1,000 m

Distribution: France (Roussillon, Languedoc, Provence, Corsica), mediterranean region.
https://www.gbif.org/fr/species/3064472

Flowering: April-september.

Illustrations:
https://www.tela-botanica.org/eflore/?referentiel=bdtfx&niveau=2&module=fiche&action=fiche&num_nom=26104&type_nom=&nom=&onglet=illustrations

Guillaume Dugied (@mercantour)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68876274
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68872541
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68872415

References

Books:

MARCEL GUINOCHET et ROGER DE VILMORIN - Flore de France – 1973 – CNRS
L’ABBE H. COSTE – Flore descriptive et illustrée de la flore de France – 1937 – Librairie des arts et des sciences
TOM TUTIN etal. – Flora Europaea volume 2 – 1968 – Cambridge University Press

Online ressources:

TELA BOTANICA
iNATURALIST

Posted by mercantour mercantour, March 28, 2021 10:56

Comments

Posted by mercantour 6 months ago (Flag)

wow, this looks veru useful... I'll pm you for the pdf version :-)
Merci!

Posted by finrod 6 months ago (Flag)

Ah, this is fantastic! I'm so glad you are sharing this with everyone else too. Your guide has been helpful to me :)

Posted by trh_blue 6 months ago (Flag)

Grazie @finrod !
I’ll send it you quickly

@trh_blue
Happy to know it’ ve been helpful :-)
Bests

Posted by mercantour 6 months ago (Flag)

Thanks for your acknowledgments, you did a nice job!
Keep well!
S.

Posted by curcu34 6 months ago (Flag)

This is great! Thanks for posting.

Posted by nathantaylor 5 months ago (Flag)

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