Mass. to Florida.
Flowers, staminate and pistillate; growing on forked branches in umbels, and surrounded by a five-lobed corolla-like involucre. The staminate flowers which line the base have one stamen; the pistillate ones which grow singly in the centre have a thrte-lobed ovary and three styles. Leaves: ovate, or lanceolate; smooth. Stem: two to three feet high; divided into five-forked umbels, which again divide and bear the flower-heads; highly coloured with purple.
Patterning itself by many that are larger and perhaps wiser, the little spurge has arranged about itself a set of bracts, or an involucre that is commonly mistaken for petals; and in its centre is the community of staminate and pistillate blossoms. Although the medical properties of spurges are said to have been discovered long ago by King Juba of Mauritania, in Africa, and to be equally well known to our own Indians; they have not altogether the sanction of many for medical use. It is certainly true that aside from its powers of purging the plant possesses little virtue. It belongs to a poisonous family and must be proud to boast of the faithful, old castor-oil plant, Ricinus communis, as a member of the same natural family.