Binging on Spurge
Originally uploaded by urtica.
Cypress spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias) comes up every spring in large patches at Squantum Point Park in Quincy, MA. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago. By now, the plants are being swallowed up by surrounding, taller vegetation. In another month it will be hard to find any trace of them. An invader? Perhaps. I have not observed any rapid spread, but the population could still be expanding.
There is anecdotal evidence that for many years after its introduction to New England, Cypress spurge was not setting fruit because it existed in small, widely separated patches and requires cross-pollination. These days, I find fruits on every patch I come across, but I do not know if they are viable. There are other patches of this species within two miles of the park, perhaps a bit too far for insect pollinators to travel regularly.