Toothed Spurge

Biological Name:

Euphorbia spp. (Toothed-Spurge)

Natural Habitat:

Toothed-Spurge: Typically found in a variety of habitats, including fields, gardens, and along roadsides, in the northern hemisphere.


Toothed-Spurge also known as Euphorbia is a plant that is native to grassland and prairie regions of North America. It is an annual herb that can grow up to two feet tall and it has small oval-shaped leaves and small green or white flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is known for its distinctive toothed leaves and it is often found in disturbed or degraded habitats.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is Euphorbia the same as spurge?
A: Euphorbia is a perennial that grows well in all parts of North Carolina and is the genus of over 2,000 species commonly called spurge. The plants are can be annual, biennial, but most are perennial herbs, shrubs, and small trees.

Q: What happens if you touch spurge?
A: Skin exposures to spurge sap are much more common than mouth exposures and typically result in redness of the exposed skin, swelling, and blistering. If someone has had a skin exposure to spurge sap, have them remove any contaminated clothing and gently wash the exposed skin with soap and water.

Q: How toxic is spurge?
A: Myrtle spurge is poisonous if ingested, causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This plant exudes toxic, milky latex, which can cause severe skin and eye irritations. Wearing gloves, long sleeves, and shoes is highly recommended when in contact with Myrtle spurge, as all plant parts are con- sidered poisonous.

Q: Is spurge good for anything?
A: Overview. Cypress spurge is a plant. The flowering plant and root are used to make medicine. Despite serious safety concerns, people take cypress spurge for breathing disorders, diarrhea, and skin diseases.

Q: Is spurge plant invasive?
A: Leafy spurge is an invasive species. Leafy spurge is on the Control noxious weed list meaning you must prevent the spread of this plant. Leafy spurge is tolerant of a wide range of conditions, from dry to moist and sunny to shade. It is found in roadsides and non-cropland disturbed environments.

Q: Is spurge a good ground cover?
A: Most spurge will spread by underground rhizomes, creating dense mats of foliage. This makes it a great option as a groundcover or as a filler between taller plants.

Q: Does spurge come back every year?
A: Since they are perennials, they come back each year. Throughout the year, flowers initially provide bright yellow colour but the foliage color on many can be green, variegated or turn maroon-red over the seasons, as with the spurge named Bonfire, so your landscape will have endless interest all year long.

Q: Is there a plant called spurge?
A: Spurge, beautiful and unique. Spurge is a truly unique plant, both for the appeal of its flowers and that of its leaves. It is surprising in spring and during the rest of the year, too, especially when the foliage is evergreen.

Q: Should I get rid of spurge?
A: To help lessen the chances of it coming back, remove spotted spurge before it has a chance to flower and produce seeds. Small patches of spotted spurge plants can also be killed using a read-to-use lawn weed killer, like Scotts® Spot Weed Control for Lawns.

Q: Are spurge plants poisonous to dogs?
A: Some people refer to the plants as “sticks of fire.”” They can be small enough to fit in a container or tree-sized. This plant’s white milky sap is toxic to pets and humans. If sap makes contact with the skin a painful rash develops at the point of contact.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.