Hello Franklin! Did you recognize last week's mystery native, perhaps because it grows in the cracks of your driveway, or between the mulch and the curb of the grocery store parking lot?
This plant is called spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata) and if you grow anything at all out-of-doors in New England, then you have likely plucked out this plant as a weed.
This is what it looks like when spotted spurge is left to its own devices for a few months. It grows absolutely flat against the ground, and has a lovely tinge of purple to its stems and leaves. Spurge is an annual plant that flourishes in hot, dry conditions that kill everything else.
I am a bit baffled as to why every source considers this plant to be just a weed, worthy only of killing, and I am currently leaving it to grow in parts of my garden to see how it does as a groundcover. So far it has been great! It was one of the only plants that didn't seem to suffer during the drought.
Just for fun, here is a closer look. This plant is in bloom. There they are: each flower is barely a millimeter across.
And here is next week's flower. Do you know what it is?
Feel free to post your guesses in the comments section here. Cheers!
Michelle Clay writes about gardening here in Franklin at the Clueless Gardeners Blog.