Eggleaf Spurge

Eggleaf Spurge

Euphorbia oblongata
Eggleaf-Spurge-G.D.-Carr
Photo credit: G.D. Carr

Status in Squamish:

PREVENTION-WATCHLIST

Status in Whistler:

PREVENTION-WATCHLIST

Status in Pemberton:

PREVENTION-WATCHLIST
Vectors of Spread:
Synonyms

Oblong spurge, Balkan spurge

ID Characteristics

General: Eggleaf Spurge is a perennial herb in the spurge (euphorbiaceae) family.

Flowers: Yellow bracts with a whorl of green leaves underneath. There are several male flowers and one female flower which grow in clusters at the end of stems.

Stem: Are about 6 cm long, smooth, egg-shaped and finely toothed. The leaves have a prominent midvein, and are green to yellow-green.

Leaves: Eggleaf Spurge grows up to 1 m tall and can produce up to 20 stems. The stems are covered in fine white hairs and turn red as the plant matures (July to October)

Fruit: Seed pods are three-lobed capsules which are green and sticky. They will eject the seeds when ripe.

Roots: Woody, branched and large taproot.

Similar Species

Invasive:

Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) has narrow, waxy leaves and its flowers are supported by two leaf like bracts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cypress Spurge (Photo credit: C. O’Brien)

Cypress Spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias) has short, narrow leaves and does not grow as tall as Eggleaf Spurge.

Report

Please report any sighting of Eggleaf Spurge by clicking here.

Habitat and Origin

Eggleaf Spurge is native to Turkey and Southeast Europe. It was introduced to North America as a garden ornamental, but it has since escaped cultivation.

Eggleaf Spurge is drought-tolerant, though it grows best in moist conditions. It typically grows in damp meadows, streambanks, shady woodlands, dry hillsides or waste areas.

Current Distribution

Propagation & Vectors of Spread

Eggleaf Spurge reproduces both by seed and vegetatively. Its root crown can produce new stems, roots and buds.

Eggleaf Spurge seedpods will eject their seeds when ripe. The seeds are covered in a tacky substance that helps them stick onto clothing, pets, equipment and vehicles. The seeds are spread mainly by wildlife, humans and machinery. Eggleaf Spurge is also sometimes sold as an ornamental, despite being designated as a provincially noxious weed on the BC Weed Control Act.

Ecological, Economic, & Health Impacts

Ecological: 

  • Outcompetes native species.
  • Depletes available water and nutrients, limiting resources for native species and inhibiting the growth of nearby plants.
  • Eggleaf Spurge is inedible for native animals in BC, therefore reducing food sources available for wildlife.

Health:

  • Contains a milky sap that is toxic to humans and livestock.
What Can I Do?

Eggleaf Spurge is NOT currently found in the Sea to Sky Corridor, so the best approach to controlling its spread is by PREVENTION.

This is a high-priority invasive species for the Province of BC, and it is included in the Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) program.

If you see Eggleaf Spurge, please report it.