Euphorbiaceae, Spurge or Euphorbias Family
The Euphorbiaceae or Spurge and sometimes Euphorbias Family consist of forbs/herbs although tropical species may be shrubs or trees. Some tropical species resemble certain members of the Cactaceae Family and are often confused with them. Most of the Euphorbs are native to the tropics however many are non-tropical species such as those found in Arizona and the United States. Once again showing Arizona's varied habitats that includes the northern most distribution of several tropical species.
Leaves are mostly alternate although many in Arizona are opposite and have stipules subtending the leaves. An interesting characteristic is that most of the leaves are simple, but compound leaves are always palmate and never pinnate.
Plants are monecious or dioecious and flower configuration is extremely variable. The arrangements and shape of the stipules may be a key characteristic especially in Chamaesyce. Also in the genus Chamaesyce, and other Euphorbs, is a cyathium which is a specialized pseudanthia ("false flower").
The Euphorbiaceae Family has 228 plant genera with over 6,547 accepted species named. The Plant List includes a further 4,634 scientific plant names of infraspecific rank for the family Euphorbiaceae.
The Plant List also now includes all but 1 species of the former genus Chamaesyce placed now within the genus Euphorbia which now includes 2,046 accepted species. The Plant List includes a further 1,707 scientific plant names of infraspecific rank for the genus Euphorbia.
There are several hundred species of the Euphorbiaceae family in Arizona, the largest genera include Chamaesyce and Euphorbia.
For Chamaesyce, there are over 90 species in the United States, Canada and Mexico. World-wide over 440 species and there are approximately 39 species in Arizona.
For Euphorbia, there are over 21 species in the Southwestern United States: Arizona has of genus Euphorbia, California has 25 species, Nevada has 6 species, New Mexico has 22 species, Texas has 31 species, Utah has 12 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.
- Acalypha neomexicana, New Mexico Copperleaf
- Chamaesyce albomarginata, Whitemargin Sandmat
- Chamaesyce arizonica, Arizona Sandmat
- Chamaesyce capitellata, Head Sandmat
- Chamaesyce dioica, Royal Sandmat
- Chamaesyce florida, Chiricahua Mountain Sandmat
- Chamaesyce hyssopifolia, Hyssopleaf Sandmat
- Chamaesyce melanadenia, Red-gland Sandmat
- Chamaesyce pediculifera, Carrizo Mountain Sandmat
- Chamaesyce revoluta, Threadstem Sandmat
- Chamaesyce setiloba, Yuma Sandmat
- Croton pottsii, Leatherweed
- Croton wigginsii, Wiggins Croton
- Ditaxis lanceolata, Narrowleaf Silverbush
- Ditaxis neomexicana, New Mexico Silverbush
- Euphorbia eriantha, Beetle Spurge
- Euphorbia heterophylla, Mexican Fireplant
- Euphorbia incisa, Mojave spurge
- Euphorbia radians, Sun Spurge
- Jatropha cuneata, Limberbush
- Jatropha macrorhiza, Ragged Nettlespurge
- Ricinus communis, Castorbean
- Tragia ramosa, Branched Noseburn