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Green Spurge Euphorbia esula

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
yoo-FOR-bee-ah ESS-uh-luh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Euphorbia esula, or Leafy spurge, is a perennial wildflower with a prolific growth rate that often grows in thick clumps. Although herbaceous, it has a woody stem that, when open, can ooze a toxic milky sap. The plant will mature into a shrub.

The Leafy spurge root system can be large and persistent. It is typically found in waste places, roadsides, and dry soil. Once established, Leafy spurge tends to displace native grasses and most other vegetation in pastures, rangelands and natural areas. Its roots reach down 12 feet or more, and once established it is very difficult to control. It spreads both underground and by seed. Its cultivation is prohibited in ten US states and is declared a noxious weed in twelve others.

Leafy spurge prefers full sunlight and dry soil but can tolerate a variety of habitats including temperatures as low as -49F. Its roots grow twice as fast in sandy soil as in clay soil; however, the roots in clay soil have greater branching than those in sandy soil. it is especially aggressive in semi-arid situations and grows as clusters with upright stems.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect problems. In western and northern states of the US, Leafy spurge is considered an invasive, noxious weed. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has placed this species on its list of 100 of the world's worst invasive species.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#vigorous#invasive#perennial#weedy#toxic#cpp#rapid
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#vigorous#invasive#perennial#weedy#toxic#cpp#rapid
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Euphorbia
    Species:
    esula
    Family:
    Euphorbiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Azores to Temperate Eurasia
    Distribution:
    Non-native species in Western and Eastern two-thirds of North America.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    drought
    Edibility:
    toxic
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Leafy spurge produces a very small, 3-chambered capsule that produces tiny seeds. When mature, the capsule "explodes" to eject the seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are small with a basal pair of bright yellow-green petal-like bracts. Clusters of the bracts appear in late spring, while the actual flowers do not develop until early summer.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Pale green leaves are numerous but scattered. The leaves are small, lanceolate, 1.5 to 3 inches long and up to 1 inch broad, with a slightly wavy margin.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are simple, but with umbrella-like branching and dense leaves.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    The sap contains a latex which is toxic on ingestion and highly irritant externally, causing photosensitive skin reactions and severe inflammation, especially on contact with eyes or open cuts. The toxicity can remain high even in dried plant material. Prolonged and regular contact with the sap is inadvisable because of its carcinogenic nature.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Diterpene esters in milky latex
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Sap/Juice