Euphorbia exigua, dwarf spurge or small spurge, is a species of Euphorbia in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), native to Europe, northern Africa and the Near East, and invasive worldwide.
Finland’s only original spurge is marsh spurge (E. palustris), in addition to which a couple of similar-sized species and several small annual species have settled in. The latter demand nutrition and calciferous soil, and they usually grow as weeds. Dwarf spurge is not completely established in Finland, but it can be found in rural and urban flowerbeds and in allotments. Solitary or a few individuals can of course sprout in other places: soil heaps, land-fill areas and lawns. Small-sized specimens can also be found casually in the wild.
The scientific name of the family originates from the plant’s use as medicine: in ancient times in northern Africa the king of Numidia’s physician Euphorbius was so knowledgeable about spurges and their properties that the plants were named in his honour.
This plant is useful.
How to get rid of:
Plants should be hand-pulled or mechanically controlled before flowering. They must be either uprooted or buried, as simply breaking the stem will result in resprouting at the soil surface.
Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations.