by Stephen Mifsud
   22 Jun 2024      ()
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Euphorbia hypericifolia   (Graceful spurge)

Euphorbia hypericifolia  (EUPHORBIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Aug-2022 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Euphorbia hypericifolia - datasheet created on Aug-2022. Retrieved from on 22-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Euphorbia hypericifoliaL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 454 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Euphorbia glomerifera (Millsp.) L.C.Wheeler
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Euphorbiaceae Juss. (The Spurge Family)
30 species from the Euphorbiaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Graceful spurge, Golden spurge

Maltese name(s) :

Tengħud arbuxxel

Status for Malta :

Naturalised Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) and spreads and integrates to form established, non-invasive populations. Species may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Nano-Phanerophyte ( small trees to large shrubs, usually <5 m )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

December – June

Colour of Flowers:

Inconspicuous, White or Pink


May cause allergic reactions or irritation in contact with the skin or mucous membranes

Name Derivation :

Euphorbia: Named for Euphorbus, a Greek physician to Juba II - King of Mauretania of Numibia (52-50 BC - 23 AD), who might have used a certain plant in allusion to his swollen belly, possibly the plant Euphorbia resinifera. (Further info: [link]). Euphorbus can have also been derived from 'Eu-' = good or true and '-phorbe' = pasture or fodder, thus giving the meaning well-fed or provides a fat-belly from consumption. (Greek origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

In the past this species have been misidentified with the closely related E. nutans having the same habit and leaves, but details in the fruit and stipules. See local paper in the literature section of this profile [ click here ]

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Readily escapes in soil close to cultivation and may invade into natural habitats.
Botanical Description: Herbs, annual, with taproot. Stems erect to ascending, 15–50 cm, glabrous. Leaves opposite; stipules connate, deltate, usually entire, sometimes laciniate-fringed at tip, 1.5–2.2 mm, glabrous; petiole 1–3 mm, glabrous; blade obliquely oblong-oblanceolate, 10–35 × 7–15 mm, base asymmetric, oblique, margins serrate or serrulate, especially toward apex, apex broadly acute, surfaces glabrous; palmately veined at base, pinnate distally. Cyathia in dense, axillary and terminal, capitate glomerules with reduced, bractlike leaves subtending cyathia; peduncle 0.5–1.8 mm. Involucre obconic, 0.9–1.1 × 0.4–0.9 mm, glabrous; glands 4, yellow-green to brown, stipitate, subcircular, 0.2 × 0.2 mm, occasionally nearly rudimentary; appendages absent on smaller glands or white to pink, shape highly variable, usually round to ± elliptic, 0.3–0.4 × 0.5–0.7 mm, distal margin entire. Staminate flowers (0–)2–20. Pistillate flowers: ovary glabrous; styles 0.4 mm, 2-fid 1/2 length. Capsules depressed-globoid, 1.3–1.4 × 1.1–1.5 mm, glabrous; columella 1–1.1 mm. Seeds with very thin whitish mucilaginous coat over light brown testa below, ovoid-triangular, bluntly 4-angled in cross section, 0.9–1.1 × 0.5 mm, with shallow irregular depressions alternating with low, smooth ridges.
Native region outside Europe: Tropical Americas (Southern parts of US, Central America and parts of south America)

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
" [AE(G)]"

Links & Further literature (1 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Contribution to the flora of the Maltese Islands: Euphorbia subg. Chamaesyce and Euphorbia exigua s. l. (Euphorbiaceae) Stephen Mifsud  (2018)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (7 images)
   Euphorbia hypericifolia   -   Image Code: EUPHY-0.
   Euphorbia hypericifolia   -   Image Code: EUPHY-1.
   Euphorbia hypericifolia   -   Image Code: EUPHY-2.
   Euphorbia hypericifolia   -   Image Code: EUPHY-3.
   Euphorbia hypericifolia   -   Image Code: EUPHY-4.
   Euphorbia hypericifolia   -   Image Code: EUPHY-5.
   Euphorbia hypericifolia   -   Image Code: EUPHY-6.

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Use this form to submit more information on this species or report mistakes in this webpage. If information supplied is taken from a book, journal or website, please provide the corresponding reference or website address. Your email address is only for internal communication. Please report only Maltese locations for plants that indicated as rare or very rare (refer to the nomenclature section above). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, typing / grammar errors, misidentifications or taxonomical updates; this will help to improve the website's accuracy. Thanks you! Fill any of the three sections (A/B/C) below and kindly submit the form.     * = required fields.
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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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