Lawn Weeds: Cypress Spurge: Euphorbia cyparissias

Weed NameWeed Description:  An invasive perennial that reproduces by seed and lateral root buds. Cypress spurge emits a milky sap when broken, and is very similar to leafy spurge, which is an extremely aggressive weed that more commonly occurs in the western United States. Cypress spurge is a weed of pastures, hay fields, fence rows, roadsides, and landscapes.

Leaves:  Leaves are linear, approximately 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches long and 1 to 2 mm wide. Upper stem leaves that occur near the inflorescence are yellow or yellowish green in color. All leaves emit a milky sap when broken.

weed nameStems:  Stems are without hairs and green to yellowish green in color, branching in the upper portions. Stems also emit a milky sap when broken.

Flowers:  Flowers typically bloom from March to May in Virginia. Flowers are greenish yellow to yellow in color, and are clustered in bunches at the ends of stems.

Fruit:  A capsule 2 to 3 mm long.
Identifying Characteristics:
Plants with linear leaves with yellowish-green flowers. Additionally, the fact that all parts of these plants emit a milky sap when broken readily identifies them as a Euphorbia species. Leafy spurge is similar in appearance, but is much taller with wider leaves that aren’t nearly as linear in outline as those of cypress spurge.

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Source:  Cypress Spurge: Euphorbia cyparissias