Euphorbia lathyris L.

Caper Spurge

Perennial herb to 50 cm high, usually single-stemmed from rootstock, each stem generally unbranched and perennial. Leaves verticillate on stems, lanceolate, 35-85 mm long, 5-10 mm wide, sessile; tip pointed, with a short sharp point; base cordate to truncate. Leaves in whorl-head lanceolate (broader), 35-110 mm long, 12-15 mm wide; tip pointed or apiculate, base lobate to truncate; those in floral head stem-clasping, not fused; lanceolate-ovate, 13-20 mm long, 12-18 mm wide. Floral head umbel with 2-4 rays. Cyathia 4-5 mm wide; lobes 5, horned; glands 4 or 5, kidney-shaped, yellow blotched purple.

Often incorrectly spelt E. lathyrus L.

E. dendroides L. is occasionally cultivated but is easily distinguished as a shrub with free upper leaf pairs; it is occasionally naturalised on disturbed ground.


Source: Forster, P. (2002). Euphorbiaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Malpighiales
family       Euphorbiaceae
genus        Euphorbia L.