Petty Spurge

Petty Spurge.

Common name

Petty Spurge

Scientific Name

Euphorbia peplus 

Type of plant


About this weed

Originally from north Africa, temperate and tropical Asia and Europe, this annual was probably introduced as a seed contaminant or for medicinal use as it contains natural insecticides. It is common in the urban bushland and gardens and grows to about 40 cm tall. It has greeny-yellow flowers during spring and summer.


Petty Spurge is an erect or procumbent annual growing to 0.4 m high. Seed has elaiosomes (fleshy appendages) allowing them to be dispersed by ants. Reproduction is by seed that is dispersed by ants, water and soil movement. It contains natural insecticides, but the sap is poisonous and an irritant.

Impact on Bushland

Not available.


Petty Spurge is widely distributed in degraded and disturbed sites including coastal acacia, limestone heath, Tuart woodlands and off-shore islands from Geraldton to Esperance.

Priority for removal


Management (hand)

Not available.

Management (herbicide)

Spray metsulfuron methyl at 0.1 g/15 L (2.5 g/ha) + wetting agent or Glyphosate at 0.5% while actively growing. Read the manufacturers’ labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. Optimal months for spraying are June to September but spraying can be done occasionally in May, October and November.

Flowering month/s

January, July, August, September, October, November

Flower colour/s

Green, Yellow

Information source

Additional information

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. and Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia, Second Edition, The Weeds Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park, Western Australia.

Petty Spurge images


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Urban Bushland Council WA Inc

2 Delhi Street West Perth WA 6005

PO Box 326 West Perth WA 6872

(08) 9420 7207 (please leave a message)

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