Chamaesyce serpyllifolia (Pers.) Small
Euphorbia serpyllifolia is a species of euphorb known by the common name thymeleaf sandmat, or thyme-leafed spurge. It is native to a large part of North America from Canada to Mexico, where it is a common member of the flora in many types of habitat. This is an annual herb growing as a prostrate mat or taking a somewhat erect form. The oblong leaves are up to about 1.5 centimeters long, sometimes hairy and finely toothed along the edges. The tiny inflorescence is a cyathium about a millimeter wide. It bears scalloped white petal-like appendages arranged around the actual flowers. At the center are several male flowers and one female flower, which develops into a lobed, oval fruit up to 2 millimeters wide. This plant had a number of traditional medicinal uses for many Native American groups.
- One of the two subspecies of this plant, ssp. hirtula, is limited to California and Baja California.
- The other sub-species, ssp. serpyllifolia, has far wider distribution throughout much of North America with a gap in interior eastern states of the United States.
The Zuni people use the serpyllifolia subspecies plant used a cathartic, an emetic, and to increase the flow of milk in a breastfeeding mother. The leaves are also chewed for the pleasant taste and used to sweeten corn meal.
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