This family contains a dozen different genera, all agreeing in that they have acrid, milky juices.
Snow-on-the-Mountain. Euphorbia marginata.
Snow-On-The-Mountain; White-Edged Spurge (Euphorbia Marginata) is a large bushy herb often cultivated because of its beautiful, white-margined foliage. The stem is very stout and branchy, and grows from 2 to 3 feet high. The leaves are dark green, large, ovate-pointed and seated on the stem; the lower ones are quite similar in shape to those of the common milkweed and are alternated on the stem; those near the end of the branches are crowded, opposite or whorled about the stem; the terminal ones have the edges of the leaves more or less widely margined with clear white.
The flowers are rather small, grouped in clusters in the center of the terminal cluster of margined leaves. The staminate and pistillate flowers are on different plants. The involucre is five parted and has five white petals.
When broken, both the leaves and stems exude quantities of a milky juice. This species of Spurge grows in dry soil from Minn, and Ohio west to Colorado, and is sometimes found in parts of the East where it has escaped from gardens.
Painted Leaf (Euphorbia Heterophylla) is a peculiar species found on rocky, woody slopes from Minn, southwards to Texas and in Fla. The stout, erect, branching, smooth stem grows from one to three feet high. The alternating leaves vary from ovate, sinuous-toothed, to lanceolate and smooth edged. The ones crowded at the ends of the branches usually have red bases. The involucres in the terminal cluster are five-parted.
Cypress Spurge (Euphorbia Cyparissias) is an escape from gardens. It has very numerous, linear leaves, and a large terminal cluster of greenish-white flowers stained with russet-red.
Jewelweed; Touch-me-not. Impatiens biflora.
Jewel-Weed Family (Balsaminaceae). Jewel-Weed; Spotted Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens Biflora) is a common rank-growing herb with a stout, but fragile, branching stem. It has many peculiarities and a great many local names, all of which pertain to some of these peculiarities. Its most common name of Jewel-weed is very appropriate, as the flowers certainly do resemble jeweled pendants hanging from the slender branches. The large, inflated sac, which is really one of the three sepals, is orange-yellow, spotted with brown; it is longer than it is broad and has a sharply incurved spur about half the length of the sac. Two of these singular flowers droop from the ends of each thread-like peduncle, but only one flowers at a time.
The slim seed-pod is the cause of two very commonly applied names, - Touch-me-not and Snapweed. When nearly ripe, these pods can scarcely be touched but what they will suddenly, almost explosively, burst and scatter their seeds in all directions. One not acquainted with their ways, is always startled when he accidentally brushes against the mature Touch-me-not.
The leaves are very delicate in appearance, and their light, slender stems are almost translucent; they are ovate, round-toothed, dull green above and whitish-green below; owing to the coloring of the leaves, Jewel-weed is often locally called "Silver-leaf." The stem is hollow and juicy, and stained with reddish.
Pale Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens Pallida) is very similar. The flower pouch, however, is paler and with few or no brown spots, the sac is as wide as it is long, and the curved spur is less than one-third the length of the sac. The stem is light green. Both species are common in moist, shady places throughout the United States.