Prostrate Spurge

Biological Name:

Euphorbia maculata (Prostrate-Spurge)

Natural Habitat:

Prostrate-Spurge: This plant is native to Europe, Asia, and North America and grows in a variety of habitats, including fields, meadows, and along roadsides.


Prostrate-Spurge is an annual weed native to North America. It is a member of the spurge family and is easily identified by its small green flowers and prostrate growth habit. The plant has a low-growing habit and produces small oval-shaped seeds.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is prostrate spurge invasive?
A: Spurge weed (Euphorbia maculata) is also known as spotted spurge, milk-purslane or prostrate spurge (though not the same as Euphorbia prostrata), is an extremely common invasive weed. It is native to Eastern North America and is often seen growing out of sidewalk cracks and along walkways.

Q: What happens if you touch spurge?
A: Skin exposures to spurge sap are much more common than mouth exposures and typically result in redness of the exposed skin, swelling, and blistering. If someone has had a skin exposure to spurge sap, have them remove any contaminated clothing and gently wash the exposed skin with soap and water.

Q: Is prostrate spurge poisonous?
A: The Prostrate spurge is a dicot plant. Flowers of a spotted spurge are tiny white flowers, extremely unnoticeable unless one knows what they are looking for. When broken the spurge produces a creamy white latex. The milky white latex could be poisonous when contact is made with eyes because it could cause blindness.

Q: Is spurge poisonous to dogs?
A: Mature plants have extensive root systems that may extend 15 or more feet into the soil and many have horizontal roots that enable the colony to enlarge by underground growth. Leafy spurge contains the alkaloid euphorbon, which is toxic to humans and animals and is a known co-carcinogen.

Q: How do I get rid of spurge in my lawn?
A: Use A Post-Emergent Herbicide Treatment By choosing a post-emergent herbicide treatment that is labeled for spurge, such as Ferti-Lome Weed-Out or Dismiss Turf Herbicide, you can kill spurge weeds. Spurge responds best to post-emergent weed killer when the weeds are young; mature weeds are harder to kill.

Q: What herbicide kills prostrate spurge?
A: If you have missed your application window for Barricade or you are starting to see spurge growing on your property, use the selective, post-emergent herbicide Fahrenheit. Fahrenheit offers great control spurge and other hard-to-kill weeds, and it is a selective herbicide, meaning you can safely apply it to turf areas.

Q: Does Roundup work on spurge?
A: Glyphosate. The nonselective herbicide Roundup (a formulation of glyphosate), sprayed on leafy spurge foliage as a 33-percent solution (one part Roundup in three parts water), will provide 80- to 90-percent top control if applied between mid-August and mid-September.

Q: Is prostrate spurge poisonous to dogs?
A: this poisonous plant is also harmful to animals. Please keep pets away from graceful spurge. If pets eat it or touch it by mistake and show poisoning symptoms, please send them to a veterinary hospital in time.

Q: Is spurge good for anything?
A: Overview. Cypress spurge is a plant. The flowering plant and root are used to make medicine. Despite serious safety concerns, people take cypress spurge for breathing disorders, diarrhea, and skin diseases.

Q: Does pre-emergent work on spurge?
A: Preemergent herbicides can help prevent spotted spurge outbreaks if you apply them in late winter before weed seeds germinate. Time the application, so it occurs before the soil temperature exceeds 55° to 60°F at a depth of 1 inch.

Q: Is prostrate spurge annual or perennial?
A: Prostrate spurge (Chameasyce maculatais) a low-growing, mat-forming, annual summer weed. It grows from a taproot that can grow to a depth of 18 inches and can spread as much as three feet across. It has milky, white sap, and the stems can be smooth or hairy.

Q: Can spurge survive winter?
A: With the exception of marsh spurge (E. palustris), good drainage is essential for all spurges. They will not survive winter if the soil is wet at that time of year. Most spurges are drought tolerant and are good candidates for xeriscaping.

Q: Should I get rid of spurge?
A: To help lessen the chances of it coming back, remove spotted spurge before it has a chance to flower and produce seeds. Small patches of spotted spurge plants can also be killed using a read-to-use lawn weed killer, like Scotts® Spot Weed Control for Lawns.

Q: Does spurge come back every year?
A: Since they are perennials, they come back each year. Throughout the year, flowers initially provide bright yellow colour but the foliage color on many can be green, variegated or turn maroon-red over the seasons, as with the spurge named Bonfire, so your landscape will have endless interest all year long.

Q: How do I get rid of spurge in my yard?
A: Use A Post-Emergent Herbicide Treatment Post-emergent herbicides treat weeds that have bloomed and are active in a lawn. By choosing a post-emergent herbicide treatment that is labeled for spurge, such as Ferti-Lome Weed-Out or Dismiss Turf Herbicide, you can kill spurge weeds.

Q: Is spurge a good ground cover?
A: Most spurge will spread by underground rhizomes, creating dense mats of foliage. This makes it a great option as a groundcover or as a filler between taller plants.

Q: Do you cut back spurge in the spring?
A: After the growing season, spurge should be left alone to provide interest in the garden and cut back in early spring to shape the plants. Whatever the season, diseased parts of plants should be removed completely and discarded.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.