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Biological controls for LEAFY SPURGE coming soon.





Project information coming soon.

LEAFY SPURGE — Euphorbia esula L.

Euphorbiaceae — (Spurge Family)

Leafy Spurge is a perennial, which stands erect up to three feet tall; reproduces by vigorous rootstalks and seed. Leaves are alternate, narrow, one to four inches long. Stems are thickly clustered. Flowers are yellowish-green, small, arranged in numerous small clusters and subtended by paired heart-shaped yellow-green bracts. Roots are brown, containing numerous pink buds which may produce new shoots or roots. The entire plant contains a milky juice, which, if rubbed on the face, can cause blindness, or a rash around the mouth and eyes. Seeds are oblong, grayish to purple, contained in a three-celled capsule, each cell containing a single seed. Capsules explode when dry, often projecting seeds as far as fifteen feet.

Leafy spurge is native to Eurasia and was brought into the United States as a seed impurity about 1827. However, it seems to be a serious problem only in North America where it infests almost two and a half million acres, mostly in Southern Canada and the North central United States. It has been reported to cause severe irritation of the mouth and digestive tract in cattle which may result in death. It is often spread down waterways and in contaminated livestock feed. Leafy Spurge is poisonous to cattle.

Growing in nearly all soil types and habitats, Leafy Spurge is virtually impossible to control without the use of chemicals. An extensive root system containing large nutrient reserves makes leafy spurge extremely difficult to control. With these deep spreading roots often exceeding twenty feet in depth, the plant is able to create new buds from the rootstock – so if it is pulled, mowed, burned or cut up – it will persistently come back. Seeds may be viable in the soil for at least eight years.

Growth Habit: Perennial, erect, up to 3` tall, spreading by seed or creeping roots.

Leaves: Alternate, long, narrow, ΒΌ" wide and 2" long, usually drooping.

Stems: Branched near top, hairless, entire plant contains milky sap.

Flowers: Inconspicuous, surrounded by large heart shaped floral leaves which turn yellow-green near maturity.

Roots: Brown, numerous pink buds, deep spreading, very persistent.

Other: Grows in nearly all soil types and habitats. Seed is thrown to 20` by exploding seed capsule.

(Courtesy of Weeds of the West)