Invasive Plants of Wisconsin

Euphorbia esula L.
leafy spurge
Family: Euphorbiaceae
population plant leaves inflorescence milky sap
 

Leafy spurge is an invader of sunny sites including native grasslands and barrens and various disturbed sites, such as abandoned agricultural fields and roadsides and rights-of-way. It is very persistent once established and spreads aggressively to displace much of the native vegetation. It can grow on various disturbed soils, but does best on dry, sandy soils. It is resistant to many traditional methods of control and can actually increase if the land is cultivated or burned. Even the use of herbicides is expensive and requires a long term commitment to achieve control. Research on biological controls is underway. The best way to start control is to survey natural areas and begin with the new, small infestations and work in toward larger populations.

You can learn more about leafy spurge life history and control methods at the Nature Conservancy web site.

 


known Wisconsin distribution

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