LEAFY SPURGE, Euphorbia
esula L. 1, leafy stem; 2, top of stem with flowers;
3, flower with seed pod; 4, seed; 5, root system.
Perennial, reproducing from extensive rootstocks and seeds. Roots
deep and spreading, woody, very persistent. Stems erect, smooth,
branched at top, I to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) talI, with milky juice. Leaves
alternate on stems, narrowly strap-shaped, 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide, usually
drooping. Flowers small, greenish, petals fused into a cuplike structure,
borne just above the greenish-yellow heart-shaped floral bracts on top
of stem. Seed pods on short stalks from the cuplike base,
3-lobed, with 3 seeds. Seeds smooth, light gray, with yellowish
or white appendage attached to the tip. Found in pastures, waste
areas, along roadsides, and in cultivated fields. A troublesome weed because
of its spreading nature and persistence.