Prostrate spurge

Chamaesyce maculata
Life Cycle: 
Plant status: 
Prostrate spurge is, as the name indicates, a low growing plant, rarely growing higher than an inch. Branching often at the base, it forms a mat commonly 6”-18” across.
Favorable environments: 
Favorable environment notes: 
Prostrate spurge thrives in moist, very warm environments, such as propagation benches and flats, greenhouse floors, gravel container areas, landscape areas; any areas that receive consistent moisture.
Prostrate spurge seeds are angled, minutely pitted and have slight transverse ridges across their surface. The seeds are also hydrophilic and can adhere to surfaces when they are wet. These factors aid in the dissemination of these seeds. Prostrate spurge seed can germinate within 5 days of being sown, and grow to maturity within 5 weeks.
Of interest: 
Prostrate spurge is in the same family as the common Christmas Poinsettia. Similar to poinsettias, spurge stems have a milky sap that exudes when stems are broken. This sap makes it easier to differentiate spurge from similar looking weeds like purslane and prostrate knotweed.
 Foliage is small, succulent, and often with small red spots. Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
 Spurge flowers are very small, pink, and grow from leaf axils. Flower parts are difficult to discern without magnification. Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
 Large numbers of seeds can often germinated at once, making hand-weeding difficult. Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS
 Prostrate spurge cascading over side of a nursery container. Image by: James Altland, USDA-ARS