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Fact Sheet 2009–3066

The Saga of Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula) in the Northern Great Plains

By Diane L. Larson

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Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) is an invasive Eurasian perennial introduced into the United States as a contaminant of crop seed in the 1880s and 1890s. It typically forms monocultures in rangeland and natural areas of the northern Great Plains where, because of the latex that occurs in all parts of the plant, it is not consumed by naturally occurring herbivores. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and their collaborators have been studying leafy spurge at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) and at Arrowwood and Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuges in North Dakota since 1998. Study findings have been published in Larson and Grace (2004), Larson and others (2006), Larson and others (2007), Jordan and others (2008), and Larson and others (2008). This fact sheet summarizes that body of research.

Posted August 11, 2009

For additional information contact:
Director, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey
8711 37th Street Southeast
Jamestown, North Dakota 58401
(701) 253-5500

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Larson, D.L., 2009, The saga of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) in the northern Great Plains, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3066, 4 p.

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