Leafy Spurge

lspurgeLeafy Spurge is an aggressive noxious weed that tends to displace all other vegetation in pastures and rangeland. As this plant is poisonous to most livestock with the exception of sheep and goats, livestock will not ingest it unless food is scarce.

 

Plant Description 

  • stem is thickly clustered and hairless (up to 1m tall)
  • leaves are hairless, spirally to alternate arranged, and narrow
  • leaves can be up to 7cm long
  • flowers are greenish yellow
  • petals and sepals are absent
  • flowers are held within a cup-like structure

 Facts on Leafy Spurge

  • perennial
  • spreads by seeds and roots
  • forms dense stands
  • contains a milky juice which can cause a skin irritation
  • poisonous but unpalatable in account to its bitter taste
  • cattle feeding for a long time on hay containing spurge become weak, collapse, have excessive scours, and eventually die
  • milky sap causes blisters in humans

 Control Methods   

  • use herbicides registered to control
  • alternate summer fallow with cropping to grain over a period of 5-7 years.
  • grazing sheep will reduce the stand of spurge (rotate the cattle ahead of the sheep)