cypress spurge
Euphorbia cyparissias L.


Euphorbia cyparissias grows up to 12 in. (30.5 cm) tall. This herbaceous, perennial plant invades open disturbed areas throughout the United States. All parts of the plant exude a white, milky sap when broken.
The leaves are small, up to 1 in. (2.5 cm) long. The leaves are numerous, alternate or whorled, bright green, and linear in shape.
Yellow-green, inconspicuous flowers are in a cyme at the top of the plant. Flowers mature to red.
The fruit is three lobed and contains 1-3 egg shaped smooth gray seeds that measure 0.06-0.08 in. (1.5-2 mm). Euphorbia cyparissias produces large clonal colonies through an extensive underground root system, that allows this plant to reproduce with lateral root buds.
Ecological Threat
Euphorbia cyparissias can invade open disturbed areas such as fields, pastures, agricultural land, roadsides, and yards. It is toxic to livestock so infestations reduce the forage value of pastures and contaminates hayfields. It can form huge infestations displacing native vegetation. This plant is native to Europe and western Asia. It was first introduced into the United States in the mid 1800s as an ornamental.


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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Euphorbiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
Subject: Euphorbia cyparissias L.

Synonyms and Other Names

Related Scientific Names:
Galarhoeus cyparissias L. (Synonym)
Tithymalus cyparissias L. (Synonym)


Plants - Forbs/Herbs