Stem

  • Up to 3 ft. tall; branched; base of plant often woody; entire plant contains milky white sap
Photo of a green stem

Leaves

  • Mostly alternate, strap-like (linear), 1-2 in. long, 0.2 in. wide and lack hair (glabrous); NO leaf stem (petiole); smooth edges (margins)
  • Stems have very few leaves; typically small and oval to strap-like (linear) with toothed to lobed edges.
Photo of leafy spurge yellow and green flowers
 

Flower

  • Small, showy, green to yellow and clustered at tips of stems; bracts below flowers are heart- to kidney-shaped and have the appearance of flower petals 
  • Produces a spherical capsule with 3 chambers, each containing one seed
Photo of leafy spurge flowers

Root

  • Creeping, deep root system; new shoots arise from pinkish buds
Photo of leafy spurge plant with green leaves and yellow flowers

Other

  • Grows well across a wide range of sites; often found in pastures, waste areas, rangelands, field borders and along waterways; known to occur in Elko, Humboldt, Washoe and White Pine counties
  • Perennial; reproduces by seed and roots; sap can irritate skin, eyes and the digestive tracts of humans and animals; sheep and goats are immune
Photo of a field of leafy spurge plants outside
 

Control

  • Mechanical control (mowing, burning, tillage and grazing) can reduce seed production but are often NOT effective due to new shoot growth from roots 
  • Several biological control agents are available
  • Apply 2,4-D, dicamba or glyphosate to actively growing plants through early bloom; picloram throughout the growing season; imazapic in fall after a killing frost but before loss of milky sap 
lecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Leafy spurge, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide

Learn more about the author(s)

 

Also of Interest:

 
Needs Assessment for Noxious Weeds in Churchill County: Part 4 of 5 - Criteria for Herbicide Use and Selection
This fact sheet is the fourth in a series of five that reports the results of a needs assessment survey completed by faculty in University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE). The survey attempted to identify the major issues related to the management and control of weeds in N...
Davison, J., Powell, P., Schultz, B., and Singletary, L. 2012, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
Nevada’s Priority Agricultural Weeds: Hoary Cress
Plants commonly referred to as hoary cress (Cardaria sp.), or short whitetop, are one of three different but closely related perennial forbs. The Cardaria species are widespread across all eleven Western states, including every county in Nevada.
B. Schultz, S. Foster 2021, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, SP-21-03
African mustard plant
Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide - African mustard
African mustard is a noxious weed that has been identified by the state of Nevada to be harmful to agriculture, the general public, or the environment. Learn more about this weed.
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., H. Kratsch, Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide
Photo of common crupina stem
Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Common crupina
Common crupina is a noxious weed that has been identified by the state of Nevada to be harmful to agriculture, the general public, or the environment. Learn more about this weed.
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide
Photo of Common St. Johnswort plant
Nevada Noxious Weed Field Guide – Common St. Johnswort
Common St. Johnswort is a noxious weed that has been identified by the state of Nevada to be harmful to agriculture, the general public, or the environment. Learn more about this weed.
Blecker, L., Creech, E., Dick, J., Gephart, S., Hefner, M., Kratsch, H., Moe, A., Schultz, B. 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Field Guide
 

Associated Programs

Master Gardeners at tabling event

Master Gardeners of Nevada

Program trains local gardeners to provide research-based horticulture information to Nevadans

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training cb

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors program tackles the growing problem of weeds on public and private land.

an array of alternative crop plants

Alternative Crops

The alternative crop program is evaluating the potential new crops for the state of Nevada.