WSU Extension


Annual bluegrass 
Bentgrass, creeping 
Birdfoot Trefoil 
Bittercress (Shotweed, Hairy bittercress) 
Bittersweet nightshade (European bittersweet) 
Black medic 
Blackberry (Himalayan, Evergreen, Pacific) 
Blue mustard (Purple mustard, Tenella mustard) 
Brackenfern, western 
Bull thistle 
Buttercup, creeping 
Butterfly bush 
Canada thistle 
Catchweed bedstraw (Cleavers) 
Catsear, common (False dandelion) 
Chickweed, common and mouseear 
Creeping Jenny 
Dock (Curly, Broadleaf) 
Downy brome (Cheatgrass, Downy chess) 
Dwarf mistletoes 
English daisy (Lawn daisy) 
English ivy 
Field bindweed (Wild morningglory) 
Field pennycress (Fanweed) 
Foxtail (Green, Yellow, Bristly) 
Garden loosestrife 
Giant hogweed 
Ground ivy 
Groundsel, common 
Hedge bindweed 
Herb Robert (Robert geranium, stinky Bob) 
Horsetails (Scouringrush) 
Horseweed (Marestail) 
Knotweeds (Bohemian, Giant, Japanese, Himalayan) 
Lambsquarters, common 
Lesser celandine 
Mallow, common (Cheeseweed, Buttonweed) 
Oxalis (Creeping woodsorrel) 
Parrotfeather and Eurasian watermilfoil 
Plantain (Broadleaf, Buckhorn) 
Poison hemlock 
Poison ivy and Poison oak 
Prickly lettuce (China lettuce) 
Prostrate knotweed 
Puncturevine (Tackweed, Goathead) 
Purple deadnettle (Red deadnettle) 
Purple loosestrife (Purple lythrum) 
Purslane, common 
Red sorrel (Sheep sorrel) 
Redroot pigweed (Rough pigweed) 
Redstem filaree (Stork's bill, Crane's bill) 
Reed canarygrass 
Russian thistle (Tumbleweed) 
Ryegrass, annual (Italian ryegrass) 
Salsify (Goatsbeard) 
Scotch broom 
Sowthistle, annual and perennial 
Spurges (Prostrate spurges) 
St. Johnswort, common (Goatweed, Klamathweed) 
Stinging nettle 
Tansy ragwort 
Tumblemustard (Jim Hill mustard) 
Velvetgrass (Common velvetgrass) 
Water primrose 
Waterhemlock, western 
Wild carrot (Queen Anne's lace) 
Yellow nutsedge 

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Caption: Prostrate spurge with flowers
Photo by: D.G. Swan
Weeds : Spurges (Prostrate spurges) : Chamaesyce spp. (Euphorbia spp.)
(revision date: 4/7/2021)

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Cycle: Annual
Plant Type: Broadleaf

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful weed management.

There are four prostrate weedy spurges that are common in the western United States. All four species are annual plants with opposite leaves and milky juice. Spotted spurge (Chamaesyce maculata) has hairy stems and hairy, dark green leaves with a distinct purple spot on each leaf. Small, pinkish flowers are produced in the leaf axils. The branches of spotted spurge may be upright, with some branching, but many other species are prostrate. Ground spurge (C. prostrata) is similar to spotted spurge, but lacks the purple spots. Both thyme-leaved spurge (C. serpyllifolia) and ridge-seeded spurge (C. glyptosperma) have smooth stems and leaves. Thyme-leaved spurge has slightly toothed leaf margins, especially at the tips. Ridge-seeded spurge has smooth-margined leaves and seeds that appear corrugated. SPECIAL INFORMANTION: The milky sap of spurges can irritate or blister the skin and can also irritate the eyes. Avoid eye or skin contact with sap. Most Chamaesyce and Euphorbia species are considered toxic.
Spurges are commonly found on dry, bare sites. They prefer sandy or gravelly soils.

Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Reduce weed establishment by maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition.
  • Cultivation (rototilling or hoeing) will effectively eliminate plants.
  • Reduce weed infestation by handpulling weeds.
  • Careful digging is useful to manage weed populations. However, digging can carry undesirable weed seed to the surface and foster further germination.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only! NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas
  • glyphosate
  • dichlobenil
  • oryzalin
  • trifluralin
  • products containing triclopyr
Turf areas
  • triclopyr
Bare ground areas
  • glyphosate
  • triclopyr

+ Show larger images

Caption: Prostrate spurge with flowers
Photo by: D.G. Swan
Caption: Prostrate spurge rosette
Photo by: D.G. Swan
Caption: Milky fluid exuding from spurge stem
Photo by: Washington Noxious Weed Control Board
Caption: Prostrate spurge cut stem
Photo by: D.G. Swan
Caption: Leafy spurge flowers
Photo by: Washington Noxious Weed Control Board
Caption: Petty spurge
Photo by: T.W. Miller
Caption: Spotted spurge
Photo by: T. W. Miller