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Caper Spurge

Euphorbia lathyris

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.

Plant Data

Flowering Months:
JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
Order:
Malpighiales
Family:
Euphorbiaceae (Spurge)
Type:
Flower
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Habitats:
Farmland, gardens, grassland, marshes, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, scrub, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Flower:
֍
Green, no petals
 
2 large yellowish-green pointed leaf-like outer bracts reaching as much as 7cm wide.
Fruit:
Large 3-sided fruit. Caper Spurge is named for its fruit as they are said to resemble capers.
Leaves:
Greyish-green, lanceolate leaves. The uppermost leaves are the broadest. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs.
Aroma:
Sometimes this plant is called a Mole Plant or Gopher Plant because the sap that exudes from the roots gives off a smell which is said to repel moles.
Other Names:
Gopher Plant, Gopher Spurge, Leafy Spurge, Mole Plant, Myrtle Spurge, Paper Spurge, Petroleum Plant.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  
Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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