Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula)

Category B Weed

Spurge family (Euphorbiaceae)

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  • Up to 3 ft. tall; branched; base of plant often woody; entire plant contains milky white sap


    • Mostly alternate, strap-like (linear), 1-2 in. long, 0.2 in. wide and lack hair (glabrous); NO leaf stem (petiole); smooth edges (margins)


      • Small, showy, green to yellow and clustered at tips of stems; bracts below flowers are heart- to kidney-shaped and have the appearance of flower petals

      • Produces a spherical capsule with 3 chambers, each containing one seed


        • Creeping, deep root system; new shoots arise from pinkish buds


          • Grows well across a wide range of sites; often found in pastures, waste areas, rangelands, field borders and along waterways; known to occur in Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander and White Pine counties

          • Perennial; reproduces by seed and roots; sap can irritate skin, eyes and the digestive tracts of humans and animals; sheep and goats are immune


            • Several biological control agents are available

            • Mechanical control (mowing, burning, tillage and grazing) can reduce seed production but are often NOT effective due to new shoot growth from root buds

            • Apply dicamba, 2,4-D or glyphosate to actively growing plants through early bloom; picloram throughout the growing season; imazapic in fall after a killing frost but before loss of milky sap


              Leafy Spurge Plant
              Mature Plant
              Leafy Spurge Flower
              Leafy Spurge Infestation
              Leafy Spurge Sap
              Leafy Spurge Seed
              Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide
              Nevada Noxious Weed Guide