Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Chamaesyce melanadenia, Red-gland Sandmat

Chamaesyce melanadenia, Red-gland Sandmat Chamaesyce melanadenia, Red-gland SandmatChamaesyce melanadenia, Red-gland SandmatChamaesyce melanadenia, Red-gland Sandmat

Scientific Name: Chamaesyce melanadenia
Common Name: Red-gland Sandmat
Also Called: Squaw Sandmat
Family: Euphorbiaceae, Spurge or Euphorbia Family
Synonyms: (Anisophyllum melanadenium, Chamaesyce melanadenia, Euphorbia cinerascens var. appendiculata, Chamaesyce aureola and Euphorbia polycarpa var. appendiculata)
Status: Native.
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 6 inches more or less.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; decumbent or ascending, may be almost prostrate in open flats especially so in disturbed soil, forms small clumps or mats, stems slender, tangling, reddish, tomentose.
Leaves: Green; opposite, simple, pubescence tomentose, shape variable; linear, oval or ovate, acute, leaf small, about 1/3 inch wide.
Flower Color: White; petaloid appendages, appendages scalloped, usually much wider than the subtending nectar glands, glands red, reddish or dark purple, monecious, inflorescence resembles a "flower", "flower" is a cyathium, flowers in clusters, male flowers surround a single female flower, flora involucre small, about 2mm, bell-shaped, tomentose, (see photo above), fruit a glabrous capsule.
Flowering Season: January to December.
Elevation: 500 to 5,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Dry rocky hillsides, open flats and disturbed areas often among shrubs; found in both deserts and upland.

Recorded Range: Chamaesyce melanadenia is relatively rare in the United States. It only occurs in Arizona and California, primarily in Arizona where it is found throughout much of the state. Also found throughout Baja California and northern Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Chamaesyce melanadenia.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: Over 90 species in Chamaesyce in the United States, Canada and Mexico. World-wide over 440 species. Approximately 39 species in Arizona, statewide. Note: Taxonomists appear to be moving toward reclassification of Chamaesyce to Euphorbia, its former classification.

Comments: Red-gland Sandmat is not a common sandmat but has a distinguishing identifying feature with red or reddish nectar glands as well as this plants overall reddish color and tomentose pubescence.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see: Chiricahua Mountain Sandmat, Chamaesyce florida, Whitemargin Sandmat, Chamaesyce albomarginata; Arizona Sandmat, Chamaesyce arizonica; Head Sandmat, Chamaesyce capitellata; Royal Sandmat, Chamaesyce dioica; Hyssopleaf Sandmat, Chamaesyce hyssopifolia; Carrizo Mountain Sandmat, Chamaesyce pediculifera; Threadstem Sandmat, Chamaesyce revoluta and Yuma Sandmat, Chamaesyce setiloba.

Red-gland Sandmat has been used as a dermatological aid and as ear medicine. See ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 5/16/2015, rev 07/22/2015, updated format 10/12/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California, as Euphorbia melanadenia.
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 5/17/2015]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 5/17/2015)
Wikipedia contributors, 'Euphorbia melanadenia', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 March 2015, 05:03 UTC, [accessed 17 May 2015]
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,