Euphorbia cyparissias

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Taxonomy
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Euphorbiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. cyparissias
Scientific Name
Euphorbia cyparissias
L.
Scientific Name Synonym
Tithymalus cyparissias
L.
Galarhoeus cyparissias
L.
Common Names

cypress spurge

Overview

Appearance
Euphorbia cyparissias grows up to 12 in. (30.5 cm) tall. This herbaceous, perennial plant invades open disturbed areas throughout the United States. All parts of the plant exude a white, milky sap when broken.
Foliage
The leaves are small, up to 1 in. (2.5 cm) long. The leaves are numerous, alternate or whorled, bright green, and linear in shape.
Flowers
Yellow-green, inconspicuous flowers are in a cyme at the top of the plant. Flowers mature to red.
Fruit
The fruit is three lobed and contains 1-3 egg shaped smooth gray seeds that measure 0.06-0.08 in. (1.5-2 mm). Euphorbia cyparissias produces large clonal colonies through an extensive underground root system, that allows this plant to reproduce with lateral root buds.
Ecological Threat
Euphorbia cyparissias can invade open disturbed areas such as fields, pastures, agricultural land, roadsides, and yards. It is toxic to livestock so infestations reduce the forage value of pastures and contaminates hayfields. It can form huge infestations displacing native vegetation. This plant is native to Europe and western Asia. It was first introduced into the United States in the mid 1800s as an ornamental.

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