Page author: David Giblin
Euphorbia virgata
wolf's milk, leafy spurge

Distribution: Introduced in much of the United States, except Oklahoma to Virginia and south; mostly eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana in the Pacific Northwest

Habitat: Noxious weed of disturbed soils

Flowers: May - June

Origin: Introduced

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Perennial from sturdy rhizomes, the stems 2-9 dm. tall, erect, simple below but freely and umbellately branched above, glaucous and usually glabrous.


The main cauline leaves alternate, oblong to linear-oblanceolate, entire, 2-6 cm. long and 2-8 mm. broad, sessile; lower leaves scale-like; floral leaves very broadly cordate-ovate, 12-16 mm. long.


Inflorescence of terminal cymes on the branches; flowers tiny, monoecious, borne in involucres; staminate flowers numerous, naked, each consisting of a single stamen; pistillate flower single and terminal in the involucre; involucres 2-3 mm. long, bearing 4 brownish-green glands with short, divergent horns.


Capsule nearly smooth, separating into three 1-seeded segments.

Accepted Name:
Euphorbia virgata Waldst. & Kit.
Publication: Descr. Icon. Pl. Hung. 2: 176–177, pl. 162. 1804.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Euphorbia esula L., misapplied [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Euphorbia virgata in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Euphorbia virgata checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Euphorbia virgata atlas page.

CalPhotos: Euphorbia virgata photos.

USDA Plants: Euphorbia virgata information.

31 photographs:
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