Look at these dainty white flowers suspended in a loose cluster like Baby’s Breath! What looks like a 5-petalled flower is actually not–the white structures you see are really bracts. There are super-tiny flowers cradled within these bracts that are nearly impossible to see!
You might first recognize the leaves of flowering spurge as being like a garden-variety Euphorbia. The leaves are simple, entire, elongated ovals that are arranged alternately on the lower stem. Further up the plant, a whorl of similar leaves announces the start of the branched, flowering stems.
If you choose to pick Flowering Spurge for a wildflower arrangement (you can, it is quite prevalent locally), the plant quickly releases a sticky milk (latex) that can irritate your skin and eyes. So be careful with it! And if you choose to consume it, be warned again of its poisonous nature: as a medicinal plant it is famous for its effectiveness in causing “the trots”. In fact, alternate common names for this native wildflower include Go Quick and Purging Root! 🙂
Flowering Spurge grows up to 3 feet in height and can be found growing in open fields (prairie habitat) and along roadsides all along the east coast of the U.S.