Saturday, May 13, 2006

Destined for Round Up?

There are thousands of species of Euphorbias in the world (poinsettia is one).

The Euphorbias are named after a Greek surgeon of a North African kingdom called Euphorbus. He is supposed to have used their milky latex as an ingredient for his potions.

Euphorbia cyparissias (often referred to as spurge) can be an invasive perennial reproducing by seed and lateral root buds. I daresay there are those who would vehemently refer to it as a weed. Cypress spurge emits a poisonous milky sap when broken, as most euphorbias do. If you have sensitive skin you must wear gloves.

On the plus side, it is low-maintenance growing in partial to full sun and it will even grow in rocky compacted soil. Its foliage looks like evergreen trees, but it is very soft to the touch. I love to run my hand over it as I walk past. In the spring it has these lovely yellow-green bracts and in the fall its narrow green leaves turn shades of red/orange/yellow.

I have it as an underplanting to a yew hedge where I want it to spread and fill the entire area. I planted it two seasons ago and it is already spreading like crazy.

It may end up being too much trouble to keep contained. I have been trying to make sure I cut off the flowers before they seed, but that is not so easy to do when you have a ton of it (Of course, I have it in other areas besides this one).

I will be keeping a close watch on this plant. As much as I do like it, I fear I may have to destroy it due its aggressive nature.


  1. I like the yellow of the flowers-it doesn't look that invasion-I guess it's what you think invasion is. I have hedges along the front of my house and where I have bare spots I put in impatiens.

  2. Lovely garden plants. Yellow always looks nice.

  3. I have periwinkle as a groundcover, and it is really nice with all the purple flowers at this time of year. However, I can see that it's really starting to take over the garden now, in areas where I wasn't thinking of having it. At least it's not full of noxious sap, so I guess I can just yank it out from the areas I don't want it.

    Finding the right groundcover can be a fine line. When does it cease to be the solution and start to be a problem?


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