Andrachne phyllanthoides (Nutt.) M. Arg.
Family - Euphorbiaceae
Stems - Woody, to +/-1.5m tall, erect, branching. Twigs ferruginous, with some long strigose hairs or glabrate, often with some vertical grooves, ribs, or angles.
Leaves - Alternate, short-petiolate to sub-sessile. Petioles to 2mm long, glabrous or with some hairs adaxially. Blades orbicular (more or less), entire, glabrous, deep green above, lighter below, +/-2.5cm long and broad.
Inflorescence - Axillary fascicles of few to many flowers. Fascicles subtended by ferruginous bracts. Bracts to 2mm long, .6mm broad (at the base), attenuate, ciliate-margined, with some hairs on both surfaces. Pedicels of flowers to 1.5cm long in pistillate flowers and shorter in staminate flowers, glabrous, thin.
Flowers - Staminate flowers with 4-5 petals and 4-5 sepals being similar, green, to 2mm long, 1.5mm broad, ovate to obovate, rounded at the apex. Sepals with some cilia on the margins. Petals and sepals mostly glabrous or with a few hairs externally. Stamens 5, erect, with green expanded nectaries at the base. The nectaries flattened, +/-1mm long. Filaments greenish, 1.5-2mm long, glabrous. Anthers yellow to tan, .2-.3mm long. Styles 3, glabrous, greenish, 1.1-1.2mm long. Pistillate flowers with 5 sepals. Sepals accrescent, to 5mm long, 4mm broad, broadly obovate, glabrous, rounded at the apex. Capsule with the styles persistent and short. Styles bifurcate at the apex and reflexed, 1mm long, becoming purple, the stigmas recurved. Capsule to +/-7mm in diameter, 6-seeded, 6-valved, green, glabrous.
Staminate flower close-up, with ant.
Flowering - May - October.
Habitat - Gravel bars, limestone bluffs, knobs, glades.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This interesting species can be found in just a handful of southern Ozark counties. It is the only woody member of its family to be found in Missouri and is easy to identify because of its rounded leaves, small flowers, and habitat.
Photographs taken in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 7-6-03.