Kentucky Nature Preserves Rare Plants

Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission

Mercury Spurge
Euphorbia mercurialina
Family: Euphorbiaceae

Protection Status:
State Status:  T
USFWS Status: {null}

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S1S2

Rich soil on wooded slopes of ravines (Gleason & Cronquist 1991); dry-mesic to mesic woods in the mountains.

Species Description:
Perennial herb.

Flowering Period: Mid April to late June.

Additional Information at NatureServe

Diagnostic Characteristics:
This euphorb has a cyathia (the structure appearing to be organized like a flower) with white petaloid looking structures also they are narrow in this species. Stems are nearly leafless below the inflorescence, the leaves few, scale-like and with green margins (not white). Leaves on the branches are ciliate. Euphorbia in general is different from other genera in this family in having milky sap and as mentioned above, the female and male flowers are organized into a flower like structure called a cyathia.

Disturbance of surrounding areas such as ATV trails, timber removal or any activity that results in increased erosion and weed invasion will be detrimental. Exotic pest plants are a threat to this species and should be removed. Avoid creating access to the site through trail or road construction.

Global Range:
Cumberland Plateau region from south KY to north AL and northwest GA (Gleason & Cronquist, 1991).

Known Kentucky Occurrences:

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Data last updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
801 Teton Trail
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
Fax: (502) 573-2355
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