Flowers, Fruits, and Leaves
Leafy spurge is a USA-NPN regional plant species. Regional species are ecologically or economically important but are distributed more locally than calibration species. The USA-NPN integrates these observations to understand better plant responses within the different geographic regions of the nation. In addition, this species is potentially invasive. Observations on its phenology will provide valuable information toward understanding its potential for spread and for its control. The NPN does not promote planting or cultivation of this or any invasive plant.
Leafy spurge is an erect, perennial, herbaceous plant, growing 8 to 36 inches tall, with extensive roots and underground creeping stems. Its tiny, greenish flowers are a bit unusual, with one female flower surrounded by several male flowers into a small "flower" (cyanthium). Several to many cyanthia are clustered loosely at the tops of branches; the flowers are insect- and self-pollinated.
Leafy spurge is found in both wet and dry climates, in subtropical to subarctic regions, and in riparian areas to dry hillsides. It can tolerate four and one-half months of flooding. It grows better in coarse-textured soils than in fine-textured soils, and occurs along roadsides, cultivated fields and gardens, and old fields, waste places, dunes, pastures, meadows, sandy banks, river banks, rangeland, and open woodlands.
You should observe...
Here are the phenophases you should observe about this plant.
New growth of the plant is visible, either from above-ground buds with green tips, or new green or white shoots breaking through the soil surface. Growth is considered "initial" on each bud or shoot until the first leaf has fully unfolded.
In at least one location on the plant, a fully unfolded leaf is visible. For seedlings, consider only true leaves and do not count the cotyledons (one or two small, round leaves) that are found on the stem almost immediately after the seedling emerges.
One or more fresh flowers or flower heads (inflorescences) are visible on the plant. Flower heads include many small flowers that usually do not open all at once. Do not include wilted or dried flowers that remain on the plant, or heads whose flowers have all wilted or dried.
One or more open fresh flowers are visible on the plant. Flowers are considered "open" when the reproductive parts (male stamens or female pistils) are visible between unfolded or open flower parts. Do not include wilted or dried flowers that remain on the plant.
One or more fresh fruits are visible on the plant.
One or more ripe fruits are visible on the plant.
|Recent fruit drop
One or more fresh mature fruits or seeds have dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit. Do not include obviously immature fruits that have dropped before ripening, such as in a heavy rain or wind.
If drought seems to be the cause of leaf senescence for a plant, please make a comment about it for that observation.
The milky latex found in leafy spurge can cause skin, mouth, and digestive irritation in humans and cattle, yet sheep and goats can graze on this plant with no ill effects.
Gardens with this plant