Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Leafy Spurge
Euphorbia esula

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: esula (ESS-uh-luh) (Info)


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By hello85
Thumbnail #1 of Euphorbia esula by hello85

By Zaragoza
Thumbnail #2 of Euphorbia esula by Zaragoza


No positives
1 neutral
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Jun 15, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This toxic plant invades natural areas and suppresses other vegetation. Its roots reach down 12 feet or more, and once established it is very difficult to control. It spreads both underground and by seed.

Its cultivation is prohibited in ten states and it has been declared a noxious weed in twelve others. This species is naturalized in most states and provinces of North America except the US southeast.

I observe a vigorous local stand prospering in mostly shade. Clearly it's as highly adaptable about light as it is about most conditions.

Negative laura10801 On May 1, 2011, laura10801 from Fairfield County, CT (Zone 6b) wrote:

Invasive! Invasive! Invasive! This little brat of a plant is growing in a dry, mostly shady location and I cannot control it. The best thing I can say about it is that it comes out of the ground easily.

Negative Joan On Apr 1, 2007, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

This plant is listed on the North Dakota invasive/troublesome list and this information is being distributed in a guide developed by the ND Weed Control Association and other agencies.

Plant Features
Perennial, up to 3 feet tall
Plants with milky sap (toxic)
Plants bluish green, emerge early spring
Clusters of 1/2 inch yellow flower bracts appear in late May
Seed pods (2 to 4) appear in center of bracts
Spreads by seeds and creeping roots (rhizomatous)
Extensive brown roots with pink buds

Widespread invasive that grows under most conditions. Once established, very difficult to eradicate

Interesting Facts
Roots can grow up to 15 feet laterally and reach depths over 20 feet
Seeds produced 30 days after first flower
Ballistic seed dispersal, erupting seed pods can disperse seeds over 20 feet
Goats and sheep will eat leafy spurge
Biological control agents are available

Neutral frostweed On Dec 27, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Leafy Spurge Euphorbia esula is naturalied in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cos Cob, Connecticut
Bay City, Michigan
Saint Helen, Michigan
Beach, North Dakota
Belfield, North Dakota
Medora, North Dakota

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