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Leafy Spurge

Photo by L.L. Berry

Common Name: Leafy spurge
Scientific Name: Euphorbia esula
Origin: Eurasia


Leafy spurge is a perennial plant with smooth stems and small, oval leaves. The plant begins to flower in late May to early June, producing greenish-yellow flowers in mid-June. It grows to be 2 to 3.5 feet tall and is capable of completely overtaking large areas of open land through seed propagation and budding through the roots.


This invader prefers dry soil conditions such as prairies, savannas, pastures, abandoned fields, and roadsides.


This invasive species grows rapidly, replacing native species in the area. It is toxic to cattle and other species, reducing the productivity of the area.


Small patches of leafy spurge can easily be hand-pulled. Herbicides and burning are other successful control methods. In large infestations, release of the leafy spurge beetle can be used a biological control. Goats and sheep can also control leafy spurge in pastures.

Distribution: View Map

This species is present in the FL-PRISM, specifically in Seneca, Cayuga, and Tompkins counties.

Invasive Rank

Fact Sheet