Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Wild Poinsettia or Toothed Spurge: Euphorbia dentata

Weed Description:  Erect annual with lanceolate leaves that often have at least one dark red spot.  All parts of the plant emit a milky sap when broken.  Toothed spurge may reach 2 feet in height and is found from New York west to Arizona.  Toothed spurge is primarily a weed of pastures, hayfields, roadsides, and other noncrop areas.

Stems: Stems are erect, branching oppositely from the base, and hairy.  Broken stems emit a milky sap.

Leaves:  Leaves are lanceolate in outline, approximately 1/2 to 3 inches long, with toothed margins.  Leaves are oppositely arranged, usually have hairs, and often have at least one dark red spot on the upper surface, especially with age.  Lower leaves may sometimes be alternately arranged.   Leaves at the ends of stems near the flowers often appear whorled.

Flowers:  Flowers occur in clusters at the ends of branches.   Flowers are relatively inconspicuous and have no petals.

Fruit:  A capsule that is yellowish-green in color and smooth.  Each capsule normally contains 3 seeds.

Identifying Characteristics:    Opposite, lanceolate leaves with dark red markings and milky sap emitted by all parts of the plant.