41. Euphorbia geyeri Engelmann, Boston J. Nat. Hist. 5: 260. 1845.
Geyer’s sandmat Geyer’s sandmat
Chamaesyce geyeri (Engelmann) Small
Herbs, annual, with taproot. Stems prostrate or slightly ascending, loosely mat-forming, 4–25(–45) cm, glabrous. Leaves opposite; stipules usually distinct, occasionally connate basally on lower side, usually deeply parted into 3 or more filiform segments, 0.7–1.5 mm, glabrous; petiole 1–2 mm, glabrous; blade oblong to oblong-obovate or oblong-elliptic, 4–12 × 2–6 mm, base slightly asymmetric, angled or rounded, with one side usually expanded into small, rounded auricle, margins entire, apex usually truncate, occasionally emarginate, abaxial surface pale grayish green, both surfaces glabrous; only midvein conspicuous or venation obscurely pinnate (larger leaves). Cyathia solitary or in small, cymose clusters at distal nodes; peduncle 1–2 mm. Involucre broadly campanulate, 1–1.5 × 0.7–0.9 mm, glabrous; glands 4, green to reddish, elliptic-oblong to nearly circular, slightly cupped to folded, 0.2–0.4 × 0.2–0.6 mm; appendages rudimentary to absent or white to reddish-tinged, usually rounded, sometimes pointed, (0–)0.5–1 × (0–)0.1–1.2 mm, distal margin entire or slightly toothed. Staminate flowers 5–20. Pistillate flowers: ovary glabrous; styles 0.2–0.6 mm, 2-fid nearly 1/2 length. Capsules globose-ovoid, 1.5–2 × 1.5–3 mm, glabrous; columella 1.5–1.9 mm. Seeds ashy white, ovoid, terete to bluntly subangled in cross section, 1.1–1.7 × 0.9–1.2 mm, smooth, with smooth brown line from top to bottom on adaxial side.
Varieties 2 (2 in the flora): North America, n Mexico.
The two varieties of Euphorbia geyeri have been distinguished in large part by the presence of conspicuous involucral gland appendages in var. geyeri and the lack of appendages in var. wheeleriana. The two varieties are recognized here, but the variation in the size and presence of involucral gland appendages in the closely related E. bombensis suggests that this might be a somewhat variable character in this group of species.
Euphorbia geyeri is widespread throughout the central United States in sandy soils. Populations at the eastern edge of the range are often considered adventive (for example, sandy soils along railroad grades in Michigan). Euphorbia geyeri resembles E. glyptosperma (both being entirely glabrous), but that species has serrulate leaves (near the apex) and strongly angled, transverse-ridged seeds whereas E. geyeri has entire leaves and smooth, rounded seeds.