WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Tiny, white flowers dot this prostrate, mat-like plant. Rounded leaves cover the fleshy, red stems which form a dense, sprawling matrix. Desperate settlers thought the plant was a remedy for snakebite, hence the common name. The species name refers to the whitish leaf margins. Note the hairless stems and leaves, and the milky sap. 


FLOWERS: April-November. White cup-like structure (cyathium) with greenish-maroon center surrounds the tiny flowers. When fertilized, the central flower extends and hangs out of the cyathium with a hairless, 3-angled, bb-sized capsule.


LEAVES: Opposite with a single white scale (stipule) with a ragged edge at the base if each leaf stem (petiole). Blade round to oblong, 1/8–3/8 inch (3–8 mm) long, hairless; margin white to reddish, toothless.


HABITAT: Desert scrub, foothills, grasslands, disturbed areas; gravelly, sandy soils.


ELEVATION: 3,600–6,700 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CA, HI (I), LA, NV, NM, OK, TX, UT.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 27 species of Chamaesyce in NM, many with white flowers. The rounded, hairless, toothless leaves and the white and maroon flowers distinguish C. albomarginata. The look-alike Fendler’s Spurge, C. fendleri, also statewide, has separate, linear white scales (stipules) at the base of each paired leaf. Thymeleaf Sandmat, C. serpyllifolia, a statewide annual, has hairless red stems and hairless, oblong leaves with scattered teeth on outer half. Prostrate Sandmat, C. prostrata, an annual scattered in the southern half of NM and occasional elsewhere, has hairy, light green to pale red stems, and hairy leaf bottoms, and capsules.


NM COUNTIES: Nearly statewide, except ne NM, in low- to mid-elevation, dry habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Cibola, Chaves, De Baca, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Guadalupe, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, McKinley, Otero, Quay, Roosevelt, San Juan, Sandoval, Sierra, Socorro, Valencia.

SMALL  WHITEMARGIN  SANDMAT,  RATTLESNAKE  WEED

CHAMAESYCE  ALBOMARGINATA  (EUPHORBIA  ALBOMARGINATA)

Spurge Family, Euphorbiaceae

Perennial herb

Leaves oval, hairless, and with a whitish edge (arrow).

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Fruit a hairless, 3-angled capsule on a stem that extends from the flower cup.

SIMILAR SPECIES

• Left: Thymeleaf Sandmat, Chamaesyce serpyllifolia, a statewide annual, has hairless red stems and  hairless, oblong leaves with scattered teeth on outer half.

• Right: Prostrate Sandmat, C. prostrata, an annual scattered in the southern half of NM and occasional elsewhere, has hairy, light green to pale red stems, and hairy leaf bottoms and capsules.

White, scale-like stipule with ragged edge at leaf base.

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