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UK Nature > Wild Flowers > Colourless Wild Flowers > Euphorbia helioscopia
Common Name(s): Sun Spurge
Scientific Name: Euphorbia helioscopia
Euphorbia helioscopia, more commonly known as Sun Spurge, is an annual plant of cultivated fields and waste places on sandy and clay loams. It grows 10–50cm in height, with a single, erect, hairless stem, branching toward the top. The leaves are oval, broadest near the tip, 1.5–3cm long, with a finely toothed margin. The flowers are small, yellow-green, with two to five basal bracts similar to the leaves but yellower; flowering lasts from mid spring to late summer. Sun spurge bleeds a milky sap when cut that can be a skin irritant. The seeds contain an oil that is a violent purgative in man and animals. Active ingredients are extracted from it for use in the pharmaceutical industry. It is also used in Chinese traditional medicine. Sun spurge is common throughout the UK especially in lowland areas, flowering from May to October.
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