Euphorbia corollata (Flowering Spurge)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Euphorbiaceae (Spurge)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; dry prairies, open woods, roadsides
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:12 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: flat Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Branching clusters of stalked flowers at the top of the plant. Clusters can be loose and airy or denser and more flat topped. Female flowers are ¼ to 3/8-inch across and have 5 white petal-like bracts with a spot of green at the base. In the center is a ring of green to yellowish glands surrounding the green ovary with a 3-parted style at the top. Male flowers have yellow stamens and are inconspicuous. At the base of branches is a pair of leafy bracts.

Leaves: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are to 3 inches long and ½ inch wide, generally elliptical, rounded at both ends with little or no stalk. Color is a bit blue-green. Attachment is alternate on the lower stem, but opposite or whorled at the base of branches and the flowering branches. Stems are light green, mostly hairless, usually unbranched in the lower stem.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a 3-sectioned capsule about 1/8 inch long on a short stalk. Each section is globular and contains a single seed.

[photo of seed] Seeds are oval, white to light gray, 2.5 to 2.8 mm long, with a fine to coarse texture of shallow depressions.


Flowering Spurge is poisonous. Its sap can cause skin irritations. It is easy to ID as nothing else looks quite like it, especially when fruits are present. There are 2 varieties, though they are not universally recognized; var. corollata is found in the eastern half of North America, including Minnesota.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Mark - Oakdale Nature Preserve, Oakdale MN
on: 2010-08-21 15:58:18

Blooming July-August 2010 near 45th & Granada entrance to the Oakdale Nature Preserve.

Posted by: Kristin - Battle Creek Park
on: 2015-07-08 09:19:33

Just a few plants, in the woods along a bike trail. So pretty!

Posted by: Gabriel - Arboretum
on: 2015-08-02 18:48:44

I saw flowering spurge in the prairie planting at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. It makes a great garden plant, stiff with lovely structure. It should be grown much more, but it's probably hard to find in garden centers.

Posted by: Marty
on: 2015-09-07 10:39:17

Wild River State Park has some wonderful populations. I help with seed procurement and spreading, and since I got my search pattern tuned I see more and more of this plant along bike trails and rail lines. There's even some right along 61and 97 here in Forest Lake.

Posted by: Kenny h - Mower county Shooting Star Trail
on: 2017-07-23 21:17:50

This flower is quite unique...have seen it other years, but it's been awhile...didn't know it was poisonous...always enjoy it.

Posted by: arleen - Along the Elmer Anderson Trail near Lake Johanna
on: 2018-08-05 17:17:39

Seen today near the railroad trestle on Elmer Anderson Trail near Lake Johanna, both side of the trail.

Posted by: Eric - Buffalo, MN
on: 2018-10-30 13:39:23

Roadside remnant colony, definitely not a planting, north of Buffalo, MN on hwy 25 in gravelly sandy soils. Surrounded by smooth brome with hoary vervain near by.

Posted by: Brett W - Anoka County
on: 2022-06-18 21:37:21

A few plants flowering along the sandy path leading to the buffalo viewing gazebo thing Cedar Creek Research Area.

Posted by: Denise Swinbank - On the border of Wabasha and Olmsted Counties in SE MN
on: 2023-07-20 12:15:51

Found a small number of plants growing in a gravel road ditch in full sun. Just north of Rochester in the Lake Zumbro area

Posted by: Katy Gillispie - Rice County, near Dennison
on: 2023-07-23 07:55:53

Sizeable colony in a road ditch west of Dennison

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