Euphorbia curtisii

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Euphorbia curtisii
Euph curt.jpg
Photo by John R. Gwaltney, Southeastern
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Euphorbiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. curtisii
Binomial name
Euphorbia curtisii
EUPH CURT dist.jpg
Natural range of Euphorbia curtisii from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Curtis' spurge, white sandhills spurge

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: none[1]

Varieties: Tithymalopsis curtisii (Engelmann) Small; Tithymalopsis eriogonoides Small[1]


Generally, for the Euphorbia genus, they are "large and variable genus of annual and perennial, lactiferous, herbs, trees, and shrubs. Leaves opposite, alternate or some in a combination including whorled, entire, crenate, serrate or lobed. Flowers unisexual, borne in cyathia (involucres resembling flowers) with 4 or 5 lobes, at least one bearing a large gland, often with petaloid appendages. Each cyathium usually contains one pistillate flower and 2-15 or more staminate flowers; the staminate flower consists of a single stamen; the pistillate of a single pistil with 3-locules. Capsule 3-locular, each locule 1- seeded." [2]

Specifically, for Euphorbia curtisii species, they are "similar to E. ipecacuanhae. Stems stiffly erect, freely branched; lowers branches alternate, the upper ones opposite. Lower leaves mostly bract-like, alternate, the upper opposite, linear, lanceolate or oblong, glabrous or pubescent, 1-6 cm long, 0.5-1.5 mm wide, petioles 0.5-5 mm long. Peduncles 0.3-2 cm long. Cyathia glabrous or pubescent, 1.5-3 mm broad, petaloid appendages of glands white or pale pink, 0.8-1.3 mm long; 1-1.5 mm wide. Capsules remotely pubescent or glabrous, 2.5-3 mm long; pedicels exserted less than 1 mm from cyathia. Seeds gray mottled with reddish brown, 1.8-2 mm long." [2]



E. curtisii was absent before herbicide treatments near the end of the growing season but present after. This might be because of increased availability of resources.[3]


E. curtisii occurs in wet pine flatwoods, in longleaf pinelands and savannas. It has been spotted in human disturbed areas such as along roadsides and in edges of flatwoods. It may also be associated with areas that have been disturbed where the soil is a heavy sticky clay type.[4]

E. curtisii was found to become absent or decrease in occurrence in response to soil disturbance by agriculture in southwest Georgia. It has shown resistance to regrowth in reestablished pineland habitat that was disturbed by these practices.[5]

Associated species include wiregrass, Quercus pumila, Q. minima, Serenoa repens.[4]

Euphorbia curtisii is an indicator species for the Panhandle Silty Longleaf Woodlands community type as described in Carr et al. (2010).[6]


E. curtisii has been observed flowering in April and May.[7]

Fire ecology

This species has been seen in longleaf pinelands after a prescribed burn.[4]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

E. curtisii should avoid soil disturbance by agriculture to conserve its presence in pine communities.[5]

Cultural use

Members of this genus can be used as a laxative in small amounts, but an overdose can cause severe poisoning.[8]

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 668-672. Print.
  3. Bohn, K. K., P. Minogue, et al. (2011). "Control of invasive Japanese Climbing Fern (Lygodium japonicum) and response of native ground cover during restoration of a disturbed longleaf pine ecosystem." Ecological Restoration 29: 346-356.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Robert K. Godfrey and Roy Komarek. States and Counties: Florida: Jefferson, Leon, and Wakulla. Georgia:Thomas.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ostertag, T. E. and K. M. Robertson. 2007. A comparison of native versus old-field vegetation in upland pinelands managed with frequent fire, South Georgia, USA. Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference Proceedings 23: 109-120.
  6. Carr, S.C., K.M. Robertson, and R.K. Peet. 2010. A vegetation classification of fire-dependent pinelands of Florida. Castanea 75:153-189.
  7. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 9 DEC 2016
  8. Mueschner, W.C. 1957. Poisonous Plants of the United States. The Macmillan Company, New York.