Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for False Flowering Spurge - Euphorbia pubentissima   Michaux
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Section 6 » Order Euphorbiales » Family Euphorbiaceae
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AuthorMichaux
DistributionAcross most of the state, but absent from most of the outer Coastal Plain and apparently absent from a number of Piedmont and Mountain counties. Likely will be found in nearly all Piedmont and mountain counties with more collecting.

MD and TN south to FL and LA.
AbundanceFrequent to common in the eastern Piedmont, Sandhills, and western Coastal Plain. Seemingly only infrequent to fairly common, at best, elsewhere in the mountains and Piedmont; essentially absent in the eastern Coastal Plain. The NCNHP has neglected to give a State Rank to this "split-out species"; the website editors feel that it is common enough to be given a rank of S5.
HabitatXeric to dry (or mesic) sandy soils of pine-oak-hickory woodlands, drier pine savannas, sandhills, dry rocky slopes and outcrops, sand- and cobblebars, and dry wooded edges. It often occurs in glades and other barrens, though there is probably no particular affinity to high pH soil.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late March-July (or later following fire).
IdentificationFalse Flowering Spurge is certainly closely related to Flowering Spurge (E. corollata) (which see), and not all authors agree that they represent distinct species. Both can have glabrous or pubescent stems, although Flowering Spurge is seldom so. E. pubentissima has shorter and narrower (and thus less showy) floral glands, and thus a flower is barely 1/6-inch across, stems no taller than 2 feet, and stems smooth to short-hairy. It has many fewer flowers per plant than does the quite showy E. corollata, its leaves are thin and green as opposed to thick, leathery, and dark green above in E. corollata, and it has mostly drooping leaves as opposed to somewhat ascending leaves in the other species. This species blooms considerably earlier -- late March to July as opposed to June to September in E. corollata. See other details in the key in Weakley (2018). Thankfully, each species is common, or reasonably so, in the western 3/4th of the state, and botanists should see them often, even if this species is somewhat unfamiliar to many owing to taxonomic issues in the past.
Taxonomic CommentsSynonyms iinclude E. corollata var. zinniiflora and E. zinniiflora.

Other Common Name(s)Southeastern Flowering Spurge
State Rank[S5]
Global RankG5
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