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Euphorbia lathyris (Caper spurge)

Beginner
skill rating
1 hour care
per year
1m
Max height
1m
Max spread
2-5 years
To maturity
Low
Toxicity

Plant details

Botanical name

Euphorbia lathyris

Other names

Caper spurge, Gopher spurge, Mole plant, Gopher plant

Genus

Euphorbia Euphorbia

Species

E. lathyris - E. lathyris is a tall plant with upright unbranched stems which carry four rows of rigidly arranged leaves and insignificant yellow flowers in mid-summer. It is a weed that is often used as an ornamental plant.


Euphorbia lathyris is: Evergreen

Habit

Spreading

Toxicity

All parts of the plant are highly toxic if ingested. The milky sap may cause irritation to skin and eyes.

Flower

Yellow-green in Spring; Yellow-green in Summer

Foliage

Dark-green in All seasons

How to care

Watch out for

Specific pests

Aphids Aphids

Grey mould Grey mould

General care

Propagation methods

Division


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Where to grow

Euphorbia lathyris (Caper spurge) will reach a height of 1m and a spread of 1m after 2-5 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, City, Cottage/Informal, Beds and borders, Ground Cover, Low Maintenance, Underplanting, Woodland

Cultivation

This plant will tolerate moist soils and is happy in sun or shade. It can be very invasive, considered by many to be a weed, spreading by rhizomes and seed.

Soil type

Chalky, Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

North, South, East, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

Companion plants

We do not currently have companion plants added for this plant.

Botanical name

Euphorbia lathyris

Other names

Caper spurge, Gopher spurge, Mole plant, Gopher plant

Genus

Euphorbia Euphorbia

Species

E. lathyris - E. lathyris is a tall plant with upright unbranched stems which carry four rows of rigidly arranged leaves and insignificant yellow flowers in mid-summer. It is a weed that is often used as an ornamental plant.

Foliage

Evergreen

Habit

Spreading

Toxicity

All parts of the plant are highly toxic if ingested. The milky sap may cause irritation to skin and eyes.


Colour

Flower

Yellow-green in Spring; Yellow-green in Summer

Foliage

Dark-green in All seasons


How to care

Watch out for

Specific pests

Aphids

Specific diseases

Grey mould

General care

Propagation methods

Division


Monthly care advice


Where to grow

Euphorbia lathyris (Caper spurge) will reach a height of 1m and a spread of 1m after 2-5 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, City, Cottage/Informal, Beds and borders, Ground Cover, Low Maintenance, Underplanting, Woodland

Cultivation

This plant will tolerate moist soils and is happy in sun or shade. It can be very invasive, considered by many to be a weed, spreading by rhizomes and seed.

Soil type

Chalky, Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

North, South, East, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5

Defra's Risk register #1

Plant name

Euphorbia lathyris (Caper spurge)

Common pest name

grape ground pearl

Scientific pest name

Margarodes vitis

Type

Insect

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

2

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

5

General biosecurity comments

Main pathway; Vitis spp. plants for planting; already prohibited. However; further consideration of other pathways is required.

Defra's Risk register #2

Plant name

Euphorbia lathyris (Caper spurge)

Common pest name

Powdery mildew: cotton; Powdery mildew: eggplant; Powdery mildew: pepper; Powdery mildew: tomato

Scientific pest name

Leveillula taurica

Type

Fungus

Current status in UK

Present (Limited)

Likelihood to spread in UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

General biosecurity comments

Believed to be present and no statutory action is being taken. Status needs to be confirmed by survey.

Defra's Risk register #3

Plant name

Euphorbia lathyris (Caper spurge)

Common pest name

cotton mealybug

Scientific pest name

Phenacoccus solenopsis

Type

Insect

Current status in UK

Absent

Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

Impact (1 is very low - 5 is very high)

3

General biosecurity comments

Watching brief for potential impact on tomato production in the Mediterranean. Other southern European countries likely to be more at risk. Precautionary action will be taken on findings on planting material to protect glasshouse crops and botanical gardens.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read "Don't risk it" advice here

Suspected outbreak? Click here for contact details to report to the relevant authority.

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/

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(01/10/2010)

(31/05/2011)

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This plant likes... Garden match
Soil types: Chalky, Loamy, Sandy Tell us...
Soil drainage: Moist but well-drained, Well-drained Tell us...
Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral Tell us...
Light: Partial Shade, Full Shade, Full Sun Tell us...
Aspect: North, South, East, West Tell us...
Exposure: Exposed, Sheltered Tell us...
Hardiness: Hardy (H4) Tell us...

DISCUSS THIS PLANT

Euphorbia lathyris - mole plant

Picture of the mole plant with an undecided future. read more

Someone gave me one from their garden. I instinctively felt unenthusiastic about it. An irrational dislike for the poor old green thing. I don't usually have this reaction so not sure what's going on. The more I read about it, that it's poisonous, self-se

Someone gave me one from their garden. I instinctively felt unenthusiastic about it. An irrational dislike for the poor old green thing. I don't usually have this reaction so not sure what's going… read more

There are 23 active discussions about Euphorbia lathyris (Caper spurge)

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GARDENS WITH THIS PLANT

Mack's Garden
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ARTICLES WITH THIS PLANT

The David Harber and Savills Garden

By landscape and garden designer Nic Howard. The collaborative show garden is designed to provoke reflection on mankind’s changing interaction with the environment through time. read more


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