Euphorbias are easily recognized. They have simple, usually hairless leaves, that bleed an acrid white sap. Spurges have very distinct complex flowers. At the center are several tiny male flowers, and a single rather large female flower. Neither male nor female flowers have petals. Two large leaf-like bracts usually enclose the whole structure. In turn, several inflorescences are grouped into umbel-like heads.
The Cypress spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias) is a very showy herbaceous plant with fragrant chartreuse flowers in early spring. With multiple very fine leaves, a bed of Cypress spurge resembles a forest of miniature cypress seedlings.
The Cypress spurge is a useful carpeting plant for dry, poor soil that needs watering every 3 weeks. It is easy to grow and needs little attention. It will need curtailing once or twice a year to prevent them from engulfing their neighbors. Always wear gloves when dealing euphorbias, because their milky sap is a common skin irritant.
- Clive Lane – The Horticulture Gardener’s Guides – Plants for Small Spaces
- Simon Harrap – Harrap’s Wild Flowers
- Marie Harrison – Groundcovers For The South