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CHAMAESYCE maculata

Image of Chamaesyce maculata

Jesse Saylor

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Botanical Name

CHAMAESYCE maculata

Plant Common Name

Matted Sandmat, Prostrate Spurge

General Description

Practically every gardener has come across this warm-season, summer weed. Prostrate spurge forms nearly flat, spreading mats of small, deep green or green and burgundy-blotched leaves that can be found in sunny beds and pavement crevices across the whole of the United States, southern Canada and northern Mexico. It is an annual weed that produces loads and loads of seeds, so it's essential to pull plants as soon as they pop up in the garden.

Dense, spreading mats of small, oval leaves supported by fine, branched, reddish stems hug the ground like cloth. Sometimes the leaves have a burgundy blotch at the center. The plants are grounded by slender taproots, and the stems emit white, milky sap when broken. By mid to late summer, hundreds of tiny, inconspicuous, ivory flowers appear along the stems below the leaves. These are followed by tiny brownish fruits filled with lots and lots of tiny seeds by fall.

Prostrate spurge is a true warm season weed that thrives in spots with full sun and well-drained soil with poor to good fertility. This is an easy weed to pull by hand or hoe up. The key is removing it from the garden before it gets a chance to flower and set seed. Mulch is also an effective means for keeping it from germinating and growing.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Annual

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1"-2" / 2.5cm - 5.1cm

  • Width

    6"-15" / 15.2cm - 38.1cm

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    United States, Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Mat-forming

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green, Sandy Brown, Burgundy

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green, Sandy Brown, Burgundy

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green, Sandy Brown, Burgundy

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Yes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes