Spotted Spurge

    Chamaesyce maculata

    spotted spurge

    Spotted spurge (F. D. Richards,

    spotted spurge

    Spotted spurge (Forest and Kim Starr, Wikimedia Commons)

    spotted spurge

    Spotted spurge (USGS Bee Survey Inventory and Monitoring Lab,


    • low-growing densely matted plant (up to 2 feet in diameter) with bright green opposite leaves
    • small elliptical-shaped leaves have an irregular-shaped purple spot in the center of each blade
    • several pink stems radiate from a center point and, when snapped in two, the stems exude a thick milky substance
    • plants grow a somewhat shallow underground taproot


    • commonly grows in planting beds but can occasionally be found growing in lawn areas

    Life Cycle

    • warm season annual with seedling germination between the temperatures of 60-100°F (early summer until early fall); peak germination occurs mid to late summer
    • rapid growth in warm temperatures with two to three generations per growing season
    • seeds mature within 5 weeks of germination and seed production continues until fall frost

    IPM Recommendations

    • Hand-pull plants in planting beds prior to seed maturation and manually remove underground structures to prevent re-sprouting.
    • Apply a mulch layer 3 inches deep on planting beds to reduce seed germination.
    • Apply an appropriate pre-emergent herbicide prior to seed germination or apply an appropriate post-emergent herbicide directly to target weeds as they are actively growing.