Petty Spurge: the cancer weed | Nature Notes from Dorset

Petty spurge (Euphorbia peplus) is another plant gardeners consider to be a scourge! It is certainly our most common Euphorbia, even more so than the familiar sun spurge. It occurs not only in gardens, of course, but in cultivated ground everywhere and is very difficult to eradicate being one of those flowers that, as you pull them out, you help it spread its seeds!
This is a small plant, petty being a corruption of the French 'petite', and it appears to have no flowers at all but it does; they are green like the leaves around them and so are not immediately obvious. This plant flowers from April through until November but it can easily survive all winter in mild weather or in sheltered locations.
In common with some other Euphorbia it has a white sap in its stems which is highly toxic and it has been used to treat some forms of skin cancer

Read more: Petty Spurge: the cancer weed | Nature Notes from Dorset

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