Euphorbia peplus L.

Petty Spurge

Sp. Pl. 456 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Erect or ascending annual herb 5–40 cm high, glabrous; stems usually branched from base, each with usually 3 terminal fertile branches which are further branched and forked, often turning reddish as they mature. Cauline leaves alternate, suborbicular, ovate or obovate, 5–25 mm long, 3–16 mm wide, apex obtuse, base cuneate, margins entire; petioles to c. 8 mm long; leaves on fertile branches opposite, ovate or triangular to rhombic, 3–15 mm long, 3–15 mm wide, shortly petiolate. Cyathia solitary in uppermost axils or terminal; peduncles to c. 1 mm long; involucre conical, c. 1 mm long; glands lunate, to c. 0.5 mm long, with 2 filiform white horn-like appendages; female flowers with styles divided into 2 arms, each with a capitate stigma. Capsule subglobose, c. 2 mm diam., keeled, smooth; seeds more or less ovoid, 1–1.5 mm long, furrowed and pitted, white or reddish, caruncle cap-like, fleshy, yellow. Flowers mainly Aug.–Dec. (but throughout the year).

*CVU, *DunT, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *GGr, *HNF, *HSF, *MuF, *MuM, *NIS, *OtP, *OtR, *RobP, *Strz, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP, *WPro, *Wim. Also naturalised all States. Native to Europe. A widespread weed of moist disturbed areas, spreading from gardens and cultivation.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Euphorbiaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-06-18
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Malpighiales
family Euphorbiaceae
genus Euphorbia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Euphorbia peplus in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Euphorbia peplus in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Glenelg Plain present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Greater Grampians present introduced
Dundas Tablelands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Wilsons Promontory present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory