Shawnee County Weed Department

Education Enforcement Control

Leafy Spurge

Leafy Spurge

Leafy Spurge · Euphorbia esula L. · is a perennial Forb that originated in Eurasia. It flowers from May through September, and reproduces through rhizomes and seeds. It has two yellowish hear-shaped bracts and can produce three seeds. Stems contain a milky white latex. Flowers (1.5-3 mm long) are divided into three cells.

It infests irrigation ditches, roadsides, fields, woodlands, shelter belts, disturbed sites, rangeland, and especially subirrigated meadows.

Leafy Spurge is considered toxic to cattle, however, sheep and goats may eat it following an acclimation period with little or no harm. Leafy Spurge is a noxious weed in numerous states. These plants spread quickly and aggressively.

Cypress spurge is a similar species, originally planted as an ornamental. It may be found in yards, cemeteries, and roadsides. Its cauline leaves are only 1-3cm long, and the plants are shorter than leafy spurge.

For more information on this rarely-occurring Kansas noxious weed, contact the Weed Department.