Cypress Spurge

Cypress Spurge

Fact Sheet

ALERT SPP This Plant is on high alert.


Latin Name: Euphorbia cyparissias

Origin:  Eurasia

Physical Description: It’s a perennial herb from creeping rhizomes. Stems grow between 10 and 60cm high with stalkless, lance-shaped leaves that are alternate on the stem. The stems and leaves have a milky toxic sap. Flowers are yellow-green in colour and turn red-green near maturity.

Habitat: It prefers direct sunlight but is shade tolerant. It can be found in mesic to dry areas, including roadsides, fields and waste places. It is also considered an ornamental plant and can be found in gardens and abandoned properties.

Impacts:  It is toxic to horses and cattle when consumed. It can cause dermatitis and rashes if the milky sap comes into contact with human skin. The plant can spread quickly reducing the abundance of desired vegetation, impacting forage and/or hay-production.

Reproduction: Reproduces vegetatively through lateral root buds, forming extensive clonal populations; the taproot may reach lengths of approximately 3m and give rise to lateral roots, which produce adventitious buds. It also produces seeds which can remain viable in the soil for up to 8 years.

Management Options

Mechanical: Manual control can be difficult due to extensive root system and is not typically recommended. However, hand-pulling small infestations prior to flower can be effective as long as the entire root system is removed to prevent re-growth. Wear proper personal protective gear, such as gloves, whenever handling this plant to avoid getting the milky latex on your skin.

Chemical: For available products, contact your local agri-supply store. Prior to any herbicide application, read and follow the label instructions

Biological: Aphthona flava is a root feeding flea beetle that has been released in British to control Leafy spurge. In 2012, a small population was tested on Cypress spurge in the North Thompson area near Little Fort. This population has established. Collection of this agent within the TNRD for redistribution is limited meaning that agents that collection numbers are low.

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