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Chamaesyce serpens

Common Name(s):
Creeping spurge

Spurges (Chamaesyce spp., and the Euphorbiaceae family) are summer annual weeds that flourish in warm weather, but in warmer climates some can persist into late fall. Plants flower in summer and early fall then die after frost. Flowers are greenish-white. Spurges are some of the most common warm-season weeds. Each exudes a milky sap when stems or leaves are broken.

Managemnet Guidelines for Spurges: Because spurges flower when young and have little or no seed dormancy, weed populations can increase rapidly. Remove plants when young to reduce seed production. They are time consuming to hand weed due to the number of seedlings that form. Some species may forcefully discharge seeds. Spurges are well managed by most preemergence herbicides labled for use.

Creeping spurge (Chamaesyce serpens) differs from the other prostrate spurges by rooting at the nodes, having smaller, more rounded leaves, and lacking hairs on the stem. Little else is known about this species other than that it is naturalized in California and recently found in nurseries in the eastern US. Anecdotal evidence suggests that common preemergence herbicides used in nurseries for spotted spurge control will likely control C. serpens from seed.

summer annual weed

NCCES plant id: 3073

Chamaesyce serpens Stem
Chamaesyce serpens Stem
Chamaesyce serpens Abaxial leaf surface
Chamaesyce serpens Leaf margin
Chamaesyce serpens Fruit
Chamaesyce serpens Fruit