Leafy Spurge
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Leafy Spurge
ative Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Leafy Spurge, Green spurge
Botanical name: Euphorbia esula    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Euphorbia riparia, Euphorbia discolor, Esula vulgaris

Leafy Spurge is a perennial herb growing up to 1-1.2 m tall, with several stems branched from the base. The stems are smooth, hairless or slightly hairy. The leaves are small, lanceshaped, 4-8.5 cm long and up to 1 cm broad, with a slightly wavy margin. The flowers are small, produced in umbels with a basal pair of bright yellow-green petal-like bracts. Clusters of the bracts appear in late spring, while the actual flowers do not develop until early summer. All parts of the plant contain a toxic white milky sap. The plant reproduces readily by seeds that have a high germination rate and may remain viable in the soil for at least seven years. The seed capsules open explosively, dispersing seed up to 5 m from the parent plant, and may be carried further by water and wildlife. Leafy Spurge also spreads vegetatively from the root system, which is complex, reported to reach 8 m into the ground and 5 m across, and may have numerous buds. The plant has been found to be native in Kashmir as recently as 2014.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Kashmir.

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