Prostrate Spurge

Weeds

spotted spurge, Chamaesyce maculata, Euphorbia supina, parking-lot-mulched-tree-island-weed

Euphorbia maculata


Prostrate spurge is a late-germinating, low growing, mat-producing summer annual. Spurge is very often found in un-irrigated bark mulch common to parking lot tree islands, crevices and boulevards. Spurge will tolerate some shade but thrives in harsh full-sun baked sites. The reddish somewhat hairy stems of spurge will produce a milky-white latex when broken or injured (similar to dandelion).

  • Crops Affected: Turfgrass

    Management

    Because prostrate spurge grows from a small taproot it is easy to remove large plants by hand. Spurge will survive in harsh conditions where the turfgrass has long-since departed. Spurge must reproduce by seed from year-to-year. Encouraging turfgrass density in the fall and spring should be fairly effective for limiting the presence of spurge in turfed areas. Spurge is most likely to invade when spring conditions have opened the turf from drought or grub damage. Prostrate spurge is a late-germinating summer annual, ideally suited to fill-in voids in the turf during June, July and August.

    Similar Species

    Prostrate spurge and spotted spurge (Euphorbia supina, Euphorbia maculata) are accepted as the same species and are often referred to synonymously. Prostrate knotweed is found in many of the same dry habitats as spurge but does not produce latex from broken stems. Common purslane has thick fleshy stems and leaves. Spurge will form leaves along the entire stem, whereas purslane tends to forms leaves in clusters at the end of the branches.