Name: Caper Spurge (Euphorbia lathyris)
Other names: caper spurge, paper spurge, gopher spurge, gopher plant or mole plant
Description: An erect biennial (occasionally annual) plant growing up to 1.5 m tall, with a glaucous blue-green stem. The leaves are arranged in decussate opposite pairs, and are lanceolate, 5–15 cm long and 1-2.5 cm broad, glaucous blue-green with a waxy texture and pale greenish-white midrib and veins. The flowers are green to yellow-green, 4 mm diameter, with no petals. The seeds are green ripening brown or grey, produced in globular clusters 13–17 mm diameter of three seeds compressed together.
Distribution: Native to southern Europe (France, Italy, Greece, northwest Africa, and eastward through southwest Asia to western China.
Habitat: Away from its native range, it is widely naturalized in many regions, where it is often considered an invasive weed.
Fun fact: The mole plant is sold by some nurseries as it is believed to repel moles. It is used in folk medicine as a remedy for cancer, corns, and warts and has been used by beggars to induce skin boils.
Dymadex's entries on plants, living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses.
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