Weeds 101: Spotted Spurge 

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Spurge top view

Spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata) is a summer annual easily identified by its prostrate growth habit. It’s often found spreading in gardens, along sidewalks and in open turf areas. Learn how to identify and control spotted spurge with these helpful tips. 

What to look for: Spreading red- or purple-tinged stems that emit a milky-white substance when broken 

Life cycle: Summer annual 

Leaves: Oblong leaves are smooth or sparsely hairy and toothed at the tip. They vary in color from reddish-green to dark green — often with a maroon or purple spot in the center. 

Flowers: Small, pinkish-white inconspicuous flowers grow in the leaf axils; flowering may occur three to four weeks after emerging in mid-summer. 

Roots: Grows from a taproot 

Look-alikes: Purslane, prostrate knotweed 

Commonly found: Gardens, flower beds, landscaping, along sidewalks and in crevices 

Treatment recommendations for spotted spurge

Snapshot® specialty herbicide can be applied to landscapes and ornamentals prior to germination in late spring/early summer. Mulching of beds, adequate soil moisture and good fertility will also help control this species. Hand-pulling plants when they’re small will minimize seed deposits. 

State restrictions on the sale and use of Snapshot apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. 


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