Euphorbia serpyllifolia

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Euphorbia serpyllifolia
Euphorbia serpyllifolia1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. serpyllifolia
Binomial name
Euphorbia serpyllifolia
  • E. serpyllifolia subsp. hirtula
  • E. serpyllifolia subsp. serpyllifolia

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.[1]


  • One of the two subspecies of this plant, ssp. hirtula, is limited to California and Baja California.[2]
  • 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.[3] The leaves are also chewed for the pleasant taste and used to sweeten corn meal.[4]


  1. ^ Ethnobotany
  2. ^ Jepson Manual: ssp. hirtula
  3. ^ Stevenson, Matilda Coxe 1915 Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #30 (p. 51)
  4. ^ Stevenson, p.67

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