CPC Plant Profile: Deltoid Spurge
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Plant Profile

Deltoid Spurge (Euphorbia deltoidea ssp. deltoidea)

This shows the mat-forming wiry stems and tiny wedge-shaped leaves of this perennial herb. Photo Credit: Jennifer Possley
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Euphorbiaceae
  • State: FL
  • Nature Serve ID: 158347
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 12/07/2021

Chamaesyce deltoidea ssp. deltoidea is a federally endangered, prostrate, perennial herb with wiry stems and tiny wedge-shaped leaves. It is found only in the extremely rare pine rockland ecosystem of Miami-Dade County, and occurs in mats over exposed limestone (DERM 1993, 1996). These inconspicuous plants have a disproportionately large woody taproot (Burch 1966), indicating their tendency to be long-lived and their ability to recover from fire.

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 09/11/2020
  • Propagation Research

Pollination ecology studied by Ehrenfeld (1976, 1979

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

A Florida endemic which currently has a narrow range due to habitat destruction. Succession of pine rockland to tropical hammock due to disrupted fire regimes and invasion of exotic plant species is also a threat to this species. The Florida Natural Areas Inventory contains eighteen occurrence records in its database.

Jennifer Possley
  • 01/01/2010

Historically, habitat destruction was a primary threat that reduced this species range by 98% (USFWS 1999). Continued urbanization, non-native plant invasion and fire suppression continue to threaten this species.

Jennifer Possley
  • 01/01/2010

There are an estimated 10,000 individuals (DERM 1993) at 18 sites; 12 of which are publicly owned.

Jennifer Possley
  • 01/01/2010

Pollination ecology studied by Ehrenfeld (1976, 1979).

Jennifer Possley
  • 01/01/2010

Miami-Dade County's Department of Environmental Resource Management and Natural Areas Management manage the sites where this species occurs. Their management plans include prescribed fire, though these are often too infrequent, due to lack of public support and recent droughts. Hand-removal of hardwood species is often employed as a surrogate to fires.

Jennifer Possley
  • 01/01/2010

Research into seed ecology, propagation and reintroduction methods is needed. Management should include a natural fire regime. Brush, litter, and invasive non-natives should be kept clear of existing plants (USFWS 1999, Fisher 2000).

Jennifer Possley
  • 01/01/2010

Fairchild Tropical Garden does not have an ex situ collection of this species, and currently does not have funding to create one. If plants are collected in the future, sowing wild-collected seeds is recommended, because the large taproots of these plants greatly reduce the feasibility of transplanting.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Euphorbia deltoidea ssp. deltoidea
Authority Engelm. ex Chapm.
Family Euphorbiaceae
CPC Number 894
ITIS 845642
USDA
Common Names Deltoid spurge | rockland spurge | wedge sandmat
Associated Scientific Names Euphorbia deltoidea ssp. deltoidea | Chamaesyce deltoidea ssp. deltoidea var. deltoidea | Chamaesyce deltoidea ssp. deltoidea | Euphorbia deltoidea
Distribution Chamaesyce deltoidea ssp. deltoidea is endemic to Miami-Dade County, Florida, where it is only found in pine rocklands from South Miami to Homestead (DERM 1993).
State Rank
State State Rank
Florida S1
Habitat

Chamaesyce deltoidea ssp. deltoidea can be found in pine rocklands (Renus 1979, DERM 1993, USFWS 1999). Pine rocklands once extended continuously along the south Florida limestone ridge for approximately 105 kilometers. The limestone ridge is 3-5 meters in height and consists of porous limestone known as Miami oolite. Limestone weathering creates pockets on the surface allowing plants to take root (USFWS 1985).

Ecological Relationships

Requires high light levels and little to no organic litter accumulation, as well as periodic fires (DERM 1996) Flowers April-November, peaking in July (DERM 1993) Pollinators may include bees, flies, ants, and wasps (Ehrenfeld 1979)

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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