Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Spotted Spurge - Euphorbia maculata   L.
Members of Euphorbiaceae:
Members of Euphorbia with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Family Euphorbiaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
DistributionThroughout the state; certain to be found in every county.

Que. to ND, south to FL and TX; introduced nearly worldwide.
AbundanceCommon to very common, and sometimes abundant.
HabitatSpotted Spurge is a highly successful "native weed". Its original habitat is unknown, but today it thrives in all sorts of disturbed situations, usually in sandy or gravelly soil: roadsides, parking lots, powerlines, clearings, vacant lots, sidewalk cracks, trail sides, flower beds, gardens, lawns, fields, cropfields, highway medians, etc.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting practically throughout the year.
IdentificationSpotted Spurge is one of several prostrate, mat-forming species in NC. The leaves may or may not have a red-purple central blotch, but if they do, it quickly separates this species from other prostrate ones. Unlike E. bombensis, E. cordifolia, and E. polygonifolia, it has short hairs on the upper stems and branches (vs. glabrous) and toothed leaf margins (vs. smooth). The alien E. prostrata, rare in the state, differs in having stem pubescence only on one side (vs. all around) and leaves only twice as long as wide (vs. 3 times); that exotic species has leaves more rounded to circular and not as oblong (often with parallel sides) as the native species.
Taxonomic CommentsSynonyms include E. supina and Chamaesyce maculata. Note that RAB (1968) named most of this species as E. supina. The E. maculata in RAB (1968) is mostly now named as E. nutans; that is an erect species.

Other Common Name(s)Milk Purslane, Spotted Sandmat
State RankS5
Global RankG5?
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
USACE-empFACU link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieLeaf variation, July 2021. MoorePhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieVacant lot, Southern Pines, June 2015. MoorePhoto_natural
Select a source
Select an occurrence type