Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sun Spurge Euphoria helioscopia. 
I am constantly amazed at the plants that turn up under my nose. Here is yet another that I discovered in my own plot.
When I first saw it I immediately thought “Ah Wood Spurge as I saw at My Niece Jane’s”. Closer examination reveald that it had no petal to its flowers – tiny things of only about 3 to 4 mm in size. In fact it was only when viewed through the camera lens with a 10 dioptre added that they really became discernable. Like the Wood Spurge this plant has both male/female fertilisation in the flower. Each structure contains a female flower and one or more very small male flowers. This is known as a Cyathium  

Culpeper says, of Spurge :—
Of Spurge the greater and lesser, they are both (taken inwardly) too violent for common use; outwardly in ointments, they cleanse the skin, take away sunburning.  
This is hardly surprising as its juice contains the poison euphorbone. Sheep that have ingested the plant when cropping have suffered severe inflammation of the mouth and extreme gastro-enteritis as a result. In fact the juice of Wood Spurge has been used in North Africa to poison the tips of arrows.  

I was astonished to find in one 3 x life-size picture an equally minuscule beetle.  but unfortunately unable to take a better pic of it in all its 4 mm glory.
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