Petty Spurge

©Fergus Ray Murray

Petty spurge

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Scientific name: Euphorbia peplus
Petty spurge is found on cultivated ground, such as gardens, fields and waste ground. It displays cup-shaped, green flowers in clusters and oval, green leaves.

Top facts


Height: up to 30cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Petty spurge is a common plant of cultivated ground, such as gardens, fields and waste ground, and is sometimes considered a weed. Its unusual flowers appear between April and October and, when ripe, its seeds are dispersed in an explosive way. These seeds are very persistent and ones as old as 50, or even 100, years have reportedly germinated.

What to look for

The greeny-yellow flowers of Petty spurge have no petals or sepals, but are held in cup-shaped bracts and appear in clusters; its leaves are oval and green.

Where to find

Found throughout the UK, but scarce in Scotland.

Did you know?

As with other spurges, Petty spurge produces a milky white sap which is toxic; in other parts of the world, these saps have been used to tip poisoned arrows.