Cypress Spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias)

Perennial that reproduces by seed and lateral root buds. Grows between 10 and 60cm high with stalkless, lance-shaped leaves that are alternate on the stem. The stems and leaves have a milky toxic sap when broken which can be a skin irritant. Flowers are yellow-green in colour and turn red-green near maturity.

Habitat & Ecology

This spurge is native to Eurasia and is an invasive ornamental. It is often grown in gardens. It prefers direct sunlight but is tolerate of the shade. It occurs in meadows pastures, roadsides and gardens.

Impacts

Cypress spurge is toxic to horses and cattle. It can cause dermatitis and rashes if the milky sap comes into contact with human skin. The plant will spread quickly in gardens and on disturbed areas. It has been found in areas of abandoned property in our region. Seed can last in the soil for up to 8 years.

Management

Removal of small infestations is the best defense against this species. Remove all plants especially before they seed so the seed bank is not established. Planting another cover species especially if it is a native plant will help to compete with any new plants emerging. Review your property regularly. For more management information, contact LRISS directly.

References

Cypress spurge Identification and Management. January 2009. Colorado Department of Agriculture. A List of Species. Rangeland, pasture, and Riparian site recommendations.