Wood Spurge - Euphorbia amygdaloides

    Description

    Medium to tall rhizomatous plant, often forming large patches. It is evergreen, and often red tinged, with erect, usually unbranched stems. Leaves oblong, often broadest above the middle, untoothed, dark green and crowded towards the stem tops. Umbel with 5 to 10 main rays and oval or rounded bracts fused together to encircle the stem, yellowish green, glands kidney shaped with converging horns.  

     

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    The  subspecies robbiae is commonly grown in gardens and often escapes, or is deliberately planted in the wild.  The flowers are the same, but the 1st year stem leaves are leathery, often shiny, dark green and more or less glabrous.  The native plant (subspecies amygdaloides) has 1st year stem-leaves which are hairy on margins and underside, usually pale- to mid-green, and dull in texture. 

    Recording advice

    Most records in VC55 are for the non-native subspecies robbiae.

    The County Recorder has asked for specimens of the native Euphorbia amygdaloides subsp amygdaloides to be retained for verification

    Habitat

    The native subspecies E.a amygdaloides is found in old woodlands.  The subspecies robbiae is often grown in gardens and may be found as an escape, close to habitation.

    When to see it

    March to May.

    Life History

    Perennial.

    UK Status

    Widespread in England south of The Wash; less common elsewhere in Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Subspecies E.a amygdaloides is rare in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in only 1 of the 617 tetrads.

    In the current checklist (Jeeves, 2011) subsp amygdaloides is listed as Native, old woodland; 13 localities [mainly to the east of the vice-county]. 

    Subspecies E.a robbiae is not listed.

    Euphorbia amygdaloides subsp. amygdaloides is on the VC55 Rare Plant Register

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map