Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Coastal Sand Spurge - Euphorbia exserta   (Small) Coker
Members of Euphorbiaceae:
Members of Euphorbia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Euphorbiales » Family Euphorbiaceae
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Author(Small) Coker
DistributionSandhills (mostly) and southern Coastal Plain. The Anson County specimen came from the southern portion, where there are remnants of Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem. A specimen (at CM) from Stanly County in 1929 lacks an image and needs an ID check.

Coastal Plain, southeastern NC to central FL and southern AL; disjunct to southeastern VA.
AbundanceUncommon and somewhat local in the Sandhills (and surprisingly not yet found in Scotland County); very rare outside of this region, such as to Johnston, Brunswick, and Anson counties. The NCNHP has a State Rank of S1?, yet fails to have it on its Significantly Rare list or Watch List! It is scattered enough to be ranked downward to S2, if not quite S2S3, and certainly it should be on its Watch List.
HabitatDry Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass uplands, bean dips, and drier savannas. Prefers more loamy and less xeric sands than Curtis's Spurge (E. curtisii), partly explaining its scarcity.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting March-June.
IdentificationCoastal Sand Spurge is a delicate gray-green plant less than 1.5 feet tall, with a widely to moderately branched upper half, these short-branched and bearing small inflorescences. Leaves are linear, narrowly lance-shape, or elliptical and tapered to both ends. Floral glands (looking like petals) are short and maroon. Curtis's Spurge is very similar in size and shape, but is overall a plainer green color, and the floral glands are conspicuously white. It likely will take much searching in the Sandhills to find this scarce species, and you will almost certainly run into the similar Curtis's Spurge many times before you see your first Coastal Sand Spurge.
Taxonomic CommentsA synonym is E. gracilior.

Other Common Name(s)Maroon Sandhills-spurge, Coastal Spurge
State RankS1? [S2]
Global RankG4?
State Status[W1]
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, loamy sand soil flat, May 2014. RichmondPhoto_natural
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