Sun Spurge, Madwoman’s Milk

sun spurge

Euphorbia helioscopia

With its dark red stems and yellow to poison-green inflorescences, sun spurge is a striking wildflower. It grows as an annual, either from fall to early summer or from spring to fall. Its main flowering season is from March to June.

Euphorbia helioscopia

Like the unrelated sunflower, sun spurge can turn its flower shoots to face the sun. Flies are often seen on the flowers, but they are also visited by many other insects.

wasp on sun spurge
Whether this wasp is snacking on the nectar of the spurge, or hunting for other insects in its flowers, both are possible.

Euphorbia helioscopia is well adapted to survive in the cultural landscape, colonizing meadows, banks, roadsides, gardens and fields.

sun spurge in meadow

madwomans milk
The sun spurge is also known as madwoman’s milk.