Euphorbia serpens

Euphorbia serpens Kunth (syn.: Chamaesyce serpens (Kunth) Small) (Am.) – A very rare and ephemeral alien. First recorded in 1992 as a grain alien in the port of Roeselare (Verloove & Vandenberghe 1993). Subsequently seen on a disused railway yard in the port of Gent in 1994, probably also associated with cereals. Also regularly recorded in or near plant nurseries, chiefly as an introduction with olive trees and palms from southern Europe (Hoste & al. 2009).

The two oldest Belgian collections belong to subsp. fissistipula (Thell.) Verloove et Lambinon (Verloove & Lambinon 2011) (syn.: var. fissistipula Thell., Chamaesyce serpens subsp. fissistipula (Thell.) Hügin), distinguished by almost linear stipules that are free for most of their length (vs. stipules connate in subsp. serpens). The usual taxon in plant nurseries seems to be subsp. serpens (although subsp. fissistipula was also recorded in 2013).

Selected literature:

Bhellum B.L. & Mangotra R. (1996) Euphorbia serpens H. B. K.: an addition to the flora of Jammu and Kashmir State. J. Nation. Bot. Soc. (India) 50(1-2): 93-94.

Hillesheim-Kimmel U. (2008) Ein Fund von Chamaesyce serpens (Kunth) Small in Südhessen. Hessische Floristische Briefe 57(3/4): 58-59.

Hoste I., Verloove F., Nagels C., Andriessen L. & Lambinon J. (2009) De adventievenflora van in België ingevoerde mediterrane containerplanten. Dumortiera 97: 1-16. [available online at:]

Hügin G. (1997) Die Gattung Chamaesyce in Deutschland. Ber. Bayer. Bot. Ges. 68: 103-121.

Hügin G. (1998a) Die Gattung Chamaesyce in Europa. Feddes Repert. 109(3-4): 189-223.

Hügin G. (1998b) Chamaesyce serpens subsp. fissistipula – Neubewertung von Euphorbia serpens var. fissistipula (Euphorbiaceae). Feddes Repert. 109(7-8): 509-519.

Hügin G. (1999) Verbreitung und Ökologie der Gattung Chamaesyce in Mitteleuropa, Oberitalien und Südfrankreich. Feddes Repert. 110(3-4): 225-264.

Huguet P. (1971) Introduction à l'étude écologique des Euphorbes prostrées. Premiers relevés floristiques et édaphiques pour trois espèces de la flore française E. maculata L. E. jovetii Huguet, E. serpens Humb., Bonpl. et Kunth. Botaniste 54(1-6): 157-187.

Huguet P. & Lesur M. (1975) Contribution a l'étude de Euphorbia serpens Humb. Bonpl. et Kunth. Bull. Centre Etudes Rech. Sci. Biarritz 10(2): 327-336.

Jauzein P. (1989) Euphorbia serpens H.B.K. en France. Monde Pl. 434: 13-16.

Mitra R.L. (1972) Euphorbia serpens H.B.K. (Euphorbiaceae): a hitherto unrecognised species in India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 68(3): 852-856.

Mouline C. (1993) Observations d' Euphorbia serpens Kunth. var. fissistipula Thell. dans le département du Gard. Monde Pl. 446: 8.

Sirbu C. & Şuşnia I. (2018) New records in the alien flora of Romania: Euphorbia serpens and E. glyptosperma. Journal of Plant Development 25: 135-144. [available online at:]

Verloove F. & Lambinon J. (2011) The non-native vascular flora of Belgium: new combinations and a new variety. New J. Bot. 1(1): 38-42.

Verloove F. & Vandenberghe C. (1993) Nieuwe en interessante graanadventieven voor de Noordvlaamse en Noordfranse flora, hoofdzakelijk in 1992. Dumortiera 53-54: 35-57.

Wolf M. & Király G. (2014) Euphorbia serpens (Euphorbiaceae), a new alien species in Hungary. Acta Bot. Hung. 56(1-2): 243-250.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith