Field Guide     Weed Management     Cypress Spurge

Cypress Spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias L.)

Crop Impacts: Pastures, gardens

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About Cypress Spurge:

Cypress Spurge is a perennial weed that reproduces by seeds along with their widely spread root system that has many pink buds that form dense infestation. Cypress Spurge can be considered a toxic weed when ingested by horses and cattle. The milk sap of the plant can also cause irritation to the skin and potentially a serious rash for some people.

Family: Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae)

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Cypress Spurge Scouting and Prevention:

The stems of a Cypress Spurge stand an erect 4 to 32 inches tall, filled with many branches. There are numerous amounts of leaves that sit one per node alternating each other. They are narrow, small and linear or club shaped. At the beginning of branches that the flowers sit on, grows a whorl of 10 or more shorter leaves. A Cypress Spurge plant can have 10 or more main stems where the yellowish-green flowers sit. These very small, unisexual flowers do not have any sepals or petals, but are crowded together in cyathium clusters. Each of these clusters produces 3 lobed seedpods that have 1 to 3 grayish, smooth, egg-shaped seeds. Cypress Spurge starts to flower in later spring or early summer, and may spontaneously flower until late autumn. The final distinguishing feature of Cypress Spurge is the acrid stick white juice it produces.

Common locations

  • - Cultivated lands
  • - Pastures
  • - Gardens

Prevention

Prevention of Cypress Spurge is less expensive and less time-consuming than trying to control it. Make sure when you are seeding a new area, you are doing so with certified weed-free seeds. If there is an infested area on your property, be sure to drive around, instead of through it. Finally, make sure to give all equipment that has been in infested fields a good clean, to make sure no seeds are transferred.

Cypress Spurge Control:

It is recommended to use a combination of both chemical and cultural control methods to take control of Cypress Spurge in your crop fields. Due to its very difficult nature to control, this combined process should be done for a few years or until you have a minimum of 90% control over cypress spray, or it will re-establish.

Cultural Control

If you are looking for cultural control methods, mowing rapidity every 21 days can be an adequate method. Your first mow should be done between May to July or when the first bloom is. It is important to note the mowing may stimulate the development of new buds, so continuing with this practice is crucial.

Chemical Control

If you are taking the chemical control route, it is important that you apply the herbicides at early bud, which is typically at the beginning to mid-summer or early fall. It has been shown that control Cypress Spurge with 2,4-D is quite difficult. Applying 2,4-D amine will only give temporary control of the top growth of leafy spurge. This herbicide treatment will require at least one additional application in the same growing season.

Latin / Alternative Cypress Spurge names:

  • - Euphorbia cyparissias L
  • - Euphorbe cypress
  • - Graveyard spurge
  • - Gra veyard weed
  • - Poor man's-hedge
  • - Rhubarhe des pauvres

Additional Cypress Spurge Resources

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/ontweeds/cypress_spurge.htm

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/info_spurge.htm

http://dnr.state.il.us/stewardship/cd/biocontrol/15cypressspurge.html