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
  • Anisophyllum novomexicanum Klotzsch & Garcke
  • Chamaesyce aequata Lunell
  • Chamaesyce albicaulis (Rydb.) Rydb.
  • Chamaesyce consanguinea Millsp.
  • Chamaesyce erecta Lunell
  • Chamaesyce neomexicana (Greene) Standl.
  • Chamaesyce occidentalis (Drew) Millsp.
  • Chamaesyce rugulosa (Engelm. ex Millsp.) Rydb.
  • Chamaesyce serpyllifolia (Pers.) Small
  • Euphorbia albicaulis Rydb.
  • Euphorbia consanguinea Engelm. ex Boiss. nom. illeg.
  • Euphorbia neomexicana Greene
  • Euphorbia notata Engelm. ex Boiss. nom. illeg.
  • Euphorbia novomexicana (Klotzsch & Garcke) L.C.Wheeler
  • Euphorbia occidentalis Drew
  • Euphorbia rugulosa (Engelm. ex Millsp.) Greene
  • Euphorbia subserrata Engelm. ex Boiss. nom. illeg.

Euphorbia serpyllifolia (Euphorbia serpillifolia[2]) 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.[3]


  • One of the two subspecies of this plant, ssp. hirtula, is limited to California and Baja California.[4]
  • 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.[5] The leaves are also chewed for the pleasant taste and used to sweeten corn meal.[6]


  1. ^ The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 20 August 2016 
  2. ^ The original spelling of the name, E. serpillifolia has generally been "corrected" to E. serpyllifolia,USDA GRIN Taxonomy although that correction is not in accord with article 60 of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants.McNeill et al. 2012
  3. ^ "BRIT - Native American Ethnobotany Database". 
  4. ^ Jepson Manual: ssp. hirtula
  5. ^ Stevenson, Matilda Coxe 1915 Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #30 (p. 51)
  6. ^ Stevenson, p.67


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