Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula)
Appearance: Perennial herbaceous plant, 2- 3 1/2' tall, erect branching, smooth stems growing from a deep vertical root. Stems, flowers, and leaves emit a white milky sap when broken.
Leaves: Alternate, small, oblong to lance-shaped, on the upper part of stem; scale-like on the lower part of the stem.
Flowers: Small, borne by showy yellow-green bracts which open in late May; flowers bloom from June into fall. Umbrella-shaped flower cluster, 7-10, at the top of each stem, single, stemmed flowers grow from leaf axils below.
Seeds: Explosive dispersal from a seed capsule up to 15'; high germination rate; seeds remain viable in the soil for 7 years.
Roots: Extensive deep root system, vegetative reproduction from crown and root buds.
- US Forest Service Fact Sheet
- Video on Leafy Spurge Identification (University of Wisconsin)
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture Information
- Minnesota Noxious Weeds (MN DOT)
- Watch Out for Leafy Spurge (Montana State University)
- NRCS Management of leafy spurge
- Plant Conservation Alliance Fact Sheet