Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) is a herbaceous perennial plant.
Here are some key features that may help to positively identify Leafy spurge:
Can reach 1m in height
Stems are smooth, hairless, and grow in clumps
Leaves are small with waxy smooth edges, arranged alternately or spirally, and are ~7cm long
Leaves are bluish-green in colour, turning to reddish-organge in late summer-early fall
Greenish-yellow heart-shaped bracts form under flowers
Reproduces through lateral root buds and seeds; mature fruit explodes, spreading seeds up to 5m
Has a lookalike, Cypress spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias), which is also considered invasive
Leafy spurge is taller and more robust than Cypress Spurge and has fewer and wide leaves (3-8mm)
What it does in the ecosystem
It grows in open disturbed areas such as pastures, abandoned fields, ditches and coastal areas. It is native to central and southern Europe. All parts of the plant contain a milky latex (sap) that can irritate livestock and cause rashes and skin irritations in humans.