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Publications: Noxious Weeds
in Slow Motion: A
talk by Jerry Asher about noxious weeds in the Blue Mountains
Click on a weed to learn about how to find it and kill it!
Alias: Esula spurge
- Stems: Erect, with numerous weak sterile branches. Main
stem up to 3 feet tall and smooth. Exudes a milky juice when bruised.
- Leaves: Alternate, sessile, 1 to 4 inches long, narrow
strap-shaped, bluish-green. Leaves of the flowering branches paired,
broads, closely clasping the stems.
- Flowers: Yellowish, minute, borne on forking leafy branches.
Flowering period is from May to July.
- Fruits: Three-lobed and three-celled, each cell bearing
a single seed.
- Seeds: Oblong, grayish to brown or purple.
Leafy spurge is a perennial that forms large colonies. Branches
and paired leaves that become yellow at maturity; entire plant turns
orange or red in the fall. It is usually found along streambanks,
on unplanted sites, or in pasture and rangeland. It propagates both
by rootstock and by seed. The plant contains a latex that causes
severe irritation of the mouth and digestive system of cattle and
Control is very important owing to the toxicity of the plant.
Integrated management is most effective. Once established, it is
very difficult to control.
- Biological: Goats and sheep are not damaged by grazing
the plant, and can perform limited biocontrol. Some flea-beetles
are also capable of controlling infestations.
- Chemical: Fall or early spring herbicide application
is recommended. Older plants translocate herbicide poorly, so
control by herbicide can be difficult. Most effective control
occurs during the first 3 to 5 years of infestation.
Report all sightings to your local