- Galarhoeus cyparissias, Tithymalus cyparissias
- An herbaceous to semi-woody perennial, 6-12 inches tall.
- bright green
- uppermost leaves opposite or whorled giving rise to terminal inflorescence
- 0.4-1.0 inches long, 0.04 -0.2 inches wide
- when broken release white milky latex
- Yellow-green complex flowers that lack true sepals or petals. Two cordate bracts that resemble petals begin yellow-green and mature into a purplish red color. Arranged in broad terminal umbels, with many male flowers clustered around one female flower which is enclosed by an involucre with 4 horned glands which is yellow-green and matures to orange brown. Blooms from May to August.
- 3 lobed
- green to shades of red, orange and yellow
- 1-3 egg shaped
- smooth, gray seeds
- old fields, cemeteries, grasslands, roadsides, waste places
- fruit exposively dispersed
- seeds are ant dispersed
- some plants reported sterile
- also reproduces vegetatively by lateral root buds
Key ID Features:
- alternate leaves
- stems release milky white latex when broken
- yellowish-green flowers mature to orange-brown
- Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) is another invasive that resembles Cypress spurge, but is taller, more robust, and has wider leaves. Cypress spurge (E. cyparissias) has very thin, linear leaves and smaller flower bracts.
- Cypress spurge is often very numerous in disturbed areas due to its ability to reproduce vegetatively. Humans can be sensitive to the milky-white latex within the plant and it is deemed an agricultural pest as it is toxic to horses and cattle.
Growth Form: Herb
Origin: Europe, Asia
Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Invasive
Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Likely Invasive
Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: importation ban, propagation ban