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Yellowstone County, Montana
Noxious Weed
Weed Information Contact Department

Leafy Spurge
(Ephorbia esula L.)
Spurge Family- Euphorbiaceae

Leafy Spurge
Photo by Tom Whitson, Roy Reichenbach

Produced by Wyoming Weed & Pest Council in cooperation with Sandoz Crop Protection Corp.

Leafy Spurge Toxic

Leafy Spurge Rosette

Leafy Spurge Root

Leafy Spurge Stem

Leafy Spurge Leaf

Leafy Spurge Bloom

Photos from Montana Weed Control Association

Toxicity: Toxic. Horses, cattle and humans.

Growth Habit: Perennial, erect, up to 3' tall, spreading by seed or creeping roots.

Leaves: Alternate, long, narrow, 1/4" wide and 2" long, usually drooping.

Stem: Branched near top, hairless, entire plant contains milky sap.

Flowers: Inconspicuous, surrounded by large heart shaped floral leaves which turn yellow-green near maturity.

Roots: Brown, numerous pink buds, deep, spreading, very persistent.

Seeds: Seed is thrown to 20' by exploding seed capsule.

Reproduction: Seeds, spreading roots

Habitat: Rangelands, pastures. 

Biological Controls: Leafy spurge hawkmoth (Hyles euphorbiae), Red-headed leafy spurge stem borer (Oberea erythrocephala), Copper leafy spurge flea beetle (Aphthona flava), Black dot leafy spurge flea beetle (Aphthona nigriscutis), Brown-legged leafy spurge flea beetle (Aphthona lacertosa), Brown dot leafy spurge flea beetle (Aphthona cyparissiae). 

Herbicides: Tordon, Tordon & 24D, Plateau

Caution: People should handle the plant with caution because the latex can cause irritation, blotching, blisters, and swelling in sensitive individuals. the eyes should never be rubbed until after the hands are thoroughly washed. The dried latex is often very difficult to wash off; consider wearing lightweight latex gloves when handling the plant. 


Video Supplied By Ravalli County Weed District