Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Euphorbia lathyris
L., Euphorbiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 9 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Euphorbia lathyrus L., orth. var.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: xu sui zi

English: caper spurge, gopherplant, moleplant

French: euphorbe épurge

Korean: sogsuja

Spanish: lechetrezna, tártago

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Glabrous, erect annual to biennial. Stems c. 30-120 cm high, usually not branched at base. Leaves opposite, decussate, exstipulate, sessile, entire, linear to oblong-lanceolate, truncate, acute and often mucronate at apex, 30-150 mm long, glaucous especially when young. Terminal umbel usually 3-4-rayed, with sometimes numerous axillary branches below; leaves subtending rays similar to stem leaves but slightly broader toward base; rays often secondarily branched and then usually forming compound dichasia or developed pseudomonopodially; leaves subtending ray-branches and cyathia broadly triangular, cordate at base. Glands crescent-shaped; horns blunt. Capsule ± smooth or slightly rugose, shallowly grooved, grooved on keels. Seeds rugulose, rounded, brown or grey, c. 5 mm long"  (Webb et al., 1988; p. 629).

"Herbs, annual, erect, up to 1(-1.5) m tall. Rootstock a simple taproot, slightly swollen in seedlings, up to more than 20 cm x 3-7 mm thick; lateral roots thin and branched. Stem single, gray-green, smooth and glabrous. Leaves opposite, decussate; stipules absent; petiole absent; leaf blade linear-lanceolate, 6-15(-20) x 0.4-2.5 cm, glabrous, base ± clasping stem, margin entire, apex acuminate or acute; midrib prominent adaxially, lateral veins inconspicuous. Inflorescence a terminal pseudumbel, often compound, eventually broad and lax; primary involucral leaves (2-) 4 or 5 (or 6), slightly yellowish green, narrowly elliptic to ovate-elliptic, somewhat unequal, margin entire, base rounded, primary rays (3 or) 4 or 5; cymes regularly many forked; cyathophylls 2, ovate-triangular, 3-8 x 2-4 cm, base truncate to clasping, margin entire, apex acuminate or acute. Cyathium subsessile; involucre subcampanulate, 2.5-4 x 2.5-3.5(-5) mm, lobes triangular-oblong, less repanded or lobed; glands 4, dark brown, transversely oblong-reniform with a club-shaped horn at each tip. Male flowers many, exserted from involucre. Female flower exserted from cup; ovary smooth, glabrous; styles free, slender and long, caducous; style arms 2-lobed. Capsule trigonous-globose, ca. 10 x 13-17 mm, smooth, glabrous. Seeds ovoid-globose to barrel-shaped, 5-8 x 4-6 mm, brown or gray-brown, with black-brown spots on surface, sharply rugulose; caruncle ca. 1.5 mm wide, yellowish, sessile, easily lost"  (Flora of China online).

Habitat/ecology:  In New Zealand, "Common and persistent in gardens, waste places, cultivated land, riverbeds, and coastal situations"  (Webb et al., 1988; p. 629).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  "Widely naturalized, exact native range obscure" (GRIN).  Eastern and central Mediterranean (Webb et al., 1988; p. 629).  "A very isolated species that is adventive in many parts of the world. It is probably native only in the Mediterranean region"  (Flora of China online).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
Skottsberg, Carl (1953) (p. 220)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Atkinson, Rachel/Sawyer, John (2011)
Chile (offshore islands)
Juan Fernández Islands
Isla Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Danton, Philippe/Perrier, Christophe/Martinez Reyes, Guido (2006) (p. 553)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Canada (British Colombia)
Province of British Columbia
Canada (British Columbia) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Mountainous regions
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
invasive
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Weed of cultivation. Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 186)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 629)
"Caper spurge is a common and conspicuous local weed".
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Oregon) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Washington) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 26 NOV 2008 and was last updated on 6 DEC 2008.