(Chamaesyce or Euphorbia drummondii)
We featured this weed 2 years ago, but thought we would revisit it given a friend’s experience in December. After hand weeding it, her hands were left swollen and burned by an allergic reaction to the sap exuding from the stems. The plant is a short-lived perennial herb with a deep taproot. Smooth, thin red stems, up to 20cm long, fan out from the centre and hug the ground. The oval-shaped leaves are blue-green with a reddish-purple blotch. They grow in pairs with very short stalks, opposite each other along the stems. The inconspicuous flower heads grow in small groups that are composed of one female and several male flowers. Seeds can germinate at any time, with the biggest flush in spring; then the plants grow quickly over summer. So if weeding it out now, wear gloves, and definitely keep your hands away from your eyes!