Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)
Represented in the range by prostrate perennial plants with milky sap and glabrous foliage. Their slender, underground stems issue from heavy, deep-set roots. The tiny staminate flowers and the single pistillate flower are in a small, green, cuplike involucre. This is rimmed by dark glands bordered by petal-like appendages. The single pistillate flower bears a three-celled ovary that protrudes to one side.
Chamaesyce albomarginata(Torr. & Gray) Small. Rattlesnake Weed.(Euphorbia albomarginata) (Plate 6.76) Visible stems are 2–10 in (5–24 cm) long, closely hugging the ground. Leaves are rounded to oblong, 1/4 in (6 mm) long or less, and bluish green with a very thin white margin. Flowers are at the nodes throughout the plant. Glands are oblong and dark maroon, and the white appendages are conspicuously large, broader than the glands. The plant is small but is a most attractive groundcover. Flower: There are no true petals, but the white appendages are appealing.
Distribution. Sandy slopes or flats; mostly in the Inyo Mountains; low elevations, Desert Scrub, up to nearly 6,000 ft (1,829 m).
Chamaesyce fendleri(Torr. & Gray) Small. Fendler Spurge. (Euphorbia fendleri Torr. & Gray) (Plate 6.77) Visible stems 2–6 in (5–15 cm) long, flat or slightly lifted. Leaves are triangular with rounded corners, minute to about 3/8 in (1 cm) long, and bright green. Like C. albomarginata, flowers are at the leaf nodes. Glands are oblong, reddish or paler, and the white appendages are only about the same width. Flower: The narrow appendages are white.
Distribution. Common in limestone areas; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 5,000–8,500 ft (1,524–2,591 m).