Scientific NameEuphorbia cyparissias
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
An invasive perennial that reproduces by seed and lateral root buds. Cypress spurge emits a milky sap when broken, and is very similar to leafy spurge, which is an extremely aggressive weed that more commonly occurs in the western United States.
Leaves are linear, approximately 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches long and 1 to 2 mm wide. Upper stem leaves that occur near the inflorescence are yellow or yellowish green in color. All leaves emit a milky sap when broken. Stems are without hairs and green to yellowish green in color, branching in the upper portions. Stems also emit a milky sap when broken.
Plants with linear leaves with yellowish-green flowers. Additionally, the fact that all parts of these plants emit a milky sap when broken readily identifies them as a Euphorbia species. Leafy spurge is similar in appearance, but is much taller with wider leaves that aren't nearly as linear in outline as those of cypress spurge.
Flower Seed Head
Flowers typically bloom from March to May in Virginia. Flowers are greenish yellow to yellow in color, and are clustered in bunches at the ends of stems.
A capsule 2 to 3 mm long.
Cypress spurge is a weed of pastures, hay fields, fence rows, roadsides, and landscapes.
Thorns or Spines
Approximate Flower Diameter
Dominant Flower Color
longer than leaf
Stem Cross Section
round or oval