Synonyms of Euphorbia corollata: Agaloma arundelana (Bartlett) Nieuwl., Agaloma corollata (L.) Raf., Agaloma joorii (Norton) Nieuwl., Agaloma marilandica (Greene) House, Agaloma olivacea (Small) Nieuwl., Euphorbia arundelana Bartlett, Euphorbia corollata var. glauca Millsp., Euphorbia corollata var. grandiflora Boiss., Euphorbia corollata var. joorii Norton, Euphorbia corollata var. molle Millsp., Euphorbia corollata var. subpetiolata Boiss., Euphorbia corollata var. viridiflora Farw., Euphorbia discolor Bertol., Euphorbia marilandica Greene, Euphorbia olivacea Small, Galarhoeus corollatus (L.) Haw., Tithymalopsis arundelana (Bartlett) Small, Tithymalopsis corollata (L.) Klotzsch & Garcke, Tithymalopsis corollata (L.) Small, Tithymalopsis joorii (Norton) Small, Tithymalopsis olivacea (Small) Small
Euphorbia corollata L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Flowering Spurge. The species and genus were named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Plants of the World Online lists 1,976 species of Euphorbia (as of 6-1-20 when I am updating this page). The genus is a member of the Euphorbiaceae Family with a total of 227 genera. Those numbers are likely to change periodically.
The distribution map above of Euphorbia corollata is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database for North Aerica is similar but also includes Florida.
There are several links at the bottom of the page for further reading and to help with positive ID.
I first observed the Euphorbia corollata in the pasture on September 8, 2018, but took better photos in 2019. Euphorbia corollata is a perennial that grows up to around 3’ in height. Common names include Flowering Spurge, Prairie Baby’s Breath, Wild Spurge. They are a native of Missouri and mid to eastern half of North America. As with other members of the Euphorbiaceae Family, plants contain a milky sap that may cause eye and skin irritation with some people.
Flowering spurge grows in most well-drained soils and can be found in prairies, pastures, glades, and along roads and train tracks. Plants have excellent drought tolerance and develop a deep taproot and caudex.
Plants produce one or more stems that are unbranched except toward the top where the inflorescences occur. Each stem is light green, round, normally smooth (glabrous) but may have fine hairs (pubescent).
Leaves grow in an alternate fashion along the stems and in a whorl of 3 or more under the inflorescence at the top of the stem. The leaves in and near the inflorescence may grow in an opposite manner.
Stems terminate in a panicle of flowers up to ¾’ long and 1′ across. Euphorbia corollata is monoecious so separate male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers are produced on the same plant. Male flowers have several stamens, while female flowers have an ovary with a tripartite style. The petaloid bracts are obovate in shape and are slightly notched at their tips. The branches and pedicels of the inflorescence are light green, smooth (glabrous), and round (terete). Pairs of small leafy bracts up to ½” long occur at the bases of pedicels and where the branches divide. There is no floral fragrance.
This panicle has a somewhat flat-headed appearance because lower flowers have longer peduncles. Each flower has a tiny cup-like cyathium containing the reproductive organs, 5 white petaloid bracts, and 5 green glandular appendages at the bases of these bracts.
The alternate stem leaves are widely spreading to ascending, linear-oblong to oblong in shape, up to 2 1/2″ long x 1/2″ across, have smooth margins, rounded or blunt at the tip, are sessile or nearly so (either no petiole or they may be very short). Leaves may be hairless (glabrous) or may have a few short hairs (strigose) at the apex of the leaf. Leaves have prominent central veins.
Flowers are visited and pollinated by a number of species or bees, butterflies, and flies. Cattle and other mammals avoid eating this plant because of its toxic latex sap. However, birds, including Wild Turkey, Greater Prairie Chicken, Bobwhite Quail, Mourning Dove, and Horned Lark eat the seeds.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
NOTE: Plants of the World Online is the most up-to-date database. It is very hard for some to keep with name changes these days so you may find a few discrepancies between the websites. Just be patient. Hopefully, someday they will be in harmony. 🙂