Euphorbia cyparissias - L.
Cypress Spurge
Other Common Names: cypress spurge
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Euphorbia cyparissias L. (TSN 28061)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.159303
Element Code: PDEUP0Q0G0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Spurge Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Euphorbiales Euphorbiaceae Euphorbia
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Euphorbia cyparissias
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Mar1994
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (12Oct2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNR), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Maine (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, ARexotic, CAexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GA, IAexotic, IDexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, MA, MDexotic, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SCexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada BCexotic, MBexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Low
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Widespread and locally common in the northeastern and north-central states; less frequent in the Pacific Northwest and southern states. Spreads and becomes a weed in disturbed areas. Apparently, Euphorbia cyparissias often occurs in disturbed areas such as old fields, rights-of-way, and pastures. However, on Long Island, New York, Euphorbia cyparissias has invaded a rare grassland community which is habitat for a federally endangered plant. More information is needed about the extent of its impacts on biodiversity. Planted as an ornamental and sold on the internet, so has the ability to disperse long distances. Reproduces mostly by creeping roots, and in some areas also by seed. Three cytotypes are known. Individual tetraploid plants may produce 30-900 or more seeds. Seeds remain viable in the soil for 1 to 5 years. Management is difficult in natural areas.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: High/Medium
I-Rank Review Date: 26Apr2006
Evaluator: Tomaino, A. (2004), rev. A. Tomaino
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to Europe and Turkey (GRIN 2001).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Established outside cultivation in the U.S. (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Dry gravelly or sandy fields, pastures, roadsides, cemetaries, and waste places (Muenscher 1955).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: No mention of changes in abiotic ecosystem processes or system-wide parameters found in the literature; assumption is that any alterations are not significant.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Moderate significance
Comments: A herbaceous to semi-woody perennial that is 15-30 cm tall (Mehrhoff et al. 2003). It is invading the Hempstead Plains Grassland, Long Island, New York and increased substantially over a three year period and reached cover levels of 25-75% (Jordan 2002).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Moderate significance
Comments: Easily spreading and becoming a weed in disturbed areas (Voss 1985). A highly successful competitor in Colorado State and at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (APRS Implementation Team 2001). Euphorbia cyparissias overgrows other species (Jordan and Jacobs, not dated).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Euphorbia cyparissias is having negative impacts on the best population of the federally endangered Agalinis acuta at the Hempstead Plains Grassland, Long Island New York; management is necessary to keep it from being overgrown (Jordan and Jacobs, not dated). However, the impacts of Euphorbia cyparissias on Agalinis acuta do not seem to be unusually disproportionate.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Medium/Low significance
Comments: On Long Island, New York, Euphorbia cyparissias occurs in the Hempstead Plains Grassland which is a rare community and habitat for the federally endangered Agalinis acuta (Jordan 2002, Jordan and Jacobs, not dated).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Established in most states across the U.S. except for Hawaii, Alaska, and the southernmost states (Kartesz 1999). Widespread and locally common in the northeastern and north-central states; less frequent in the Pacific Northwest (Muenscher 1955). See the subnational distribution data in these sources: Baldwin et al. 2004, Rice 2004, Weber et al. 2004, Wisconsin State Herbarium 2004, Iverson et al. 1999, Weldy et al. 2002, Mehrhoff et al. 2003, University of Tennessee Herbarium 2002, Rayner et al. 2000, J. Kartesz, unpublished data.

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Euphorbia cyparissias is having negative impacts on the best population of the federally endangered Agalinis acuta at the Hempstead Plains Grassland, Long Island New York (Jordan and Jacobs, not dated). Little other mention of negative impacts on biodiversity found in the literature; assumption is that impacts occur in 5-50% of the species' current generalized range.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Moderate significance
Comments: Approximately 14-34 units, inferred from TNC (2001), Kartesz (1999), Baldwin et al. 2004, Rice 2004, Weber et al. 2004, Wisconsin State Herbarium 2004, Iverson et al. 1999, Weldy et al. 2002, Mehrhoff et al. 2003, University of Tennessee Herbarium 2002, Rayner et al. 2000.


9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: In New England, Euphorbia cyparissias occurs in old fields, right-of-ways, pasture, and other disturbed areas (Mehrhoff et al. 2003). On Long Island, New York, E. cyparissias occurs near the periphery of native grassland (Jordan 2002). In Michigan, occurs in clearings, fields, roadsides, railroads, old homesites, old homesites, and cemeteries (Voss 1985).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Easily spreading and becoming a weed in disturbed areas (Voss 1985). It is available for sale on the internet. Occurs in disturbed areas; assumption is that disturbed areas are not declining and therefore this species' total range is not declining.

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: Inferred from USDA (1990) and Kartesz (1999), 30-90% of its potential generalized range in the U.S. is currently occupied.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Seeds are dispersed by ants Stahevitch et al. 1988). Planted as an ornamental (Stahevitch et al. 1988). For sale on the internet.

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High/Low significance
Comments: Easily spreading and becoming a weed in disturbed areas (Voss 1985). Occurs in disturbed areas; assumption is that disturbed areas are not decreasing or remaining stable and therefore this species' local range is not decreasing or remaining stable.

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: Easily spreading and becoming a weed in disturbed areas (Voss 1985). On Long Island, New York, E. cyparissias occurs near the periphery of native grassland (Jordan 2002).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: In Canada, Euphorbia cyparissias occurs in disturbed communities on sandy substrates and also on limestone; most sites are dry but occasionally plants grow along wet ditches (Stahevitch et al. 1988). These are habitats it has already invaded in the region of interest.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Moderate significance
Comments: Reproduces mostly by creeping roots, in some areas also by seed (Muenscher 1955). Three cytotypes are known; the fertile tetraploid is the most weedy and has abundant seed set and more shoots than sterile diploids (Stahevitch et al. 1988). At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, seeds remain viable in the soil for 1 to 5 years (APRS Implementation Team 2001). Individual tetraploid plants may produce 30-900 or more seeds (Stahevitch et al. 1988).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: High/Medium

17. General Management Difficulty:High significance
Comments: Prevent seed production by mowing as soon as the first blossoms appear; close pasturing with sheep will gradually decrease Euphorbia cyparissias (Muenscher 1955). On Long Island, New York, E. cyparissias was not controlled by mowing, herbicide, or fire (Jordan 2002). On Long Island, "We may be able to control E. cyparissias well enough by wick application to keep A. acuta from being overgrown but only if we keep at it forever (Jordan and Jacobs, not dated). Two insect species were successful at reducing E. cyparissias in Rhode Island pastures (Faubert and Casagrande, not dated).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:High/Low significance
Comments: At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, seeds remain viable in the soil for 1 to 5 years (APRS Implementation Team 2001). On Long Island, "We may be able to control E. cyparissias well enough by wick application to keep A. acuta from being overgrown but only if we keep at it forever (Jordan, not dated).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Herbicide spray application kills everything growing beneath Euphorbia cyparissias (Jordan and Jacobs, not dated).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: An agricultural pest because it is potentially toxic to horses and cattle (Mehrhoff et al 2003). Classified as a noxious weed in Colorado (Kartesz 1999). Infestations are not known to be in extreme or remote habitats. Assumption is that accessibility problems are not severe or substantial.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Faubert, H., and R. Casagrande. Not dated. Cypress Spurge Biological Control in Rhode Island. University of Rhode Island. Online. Available: http://www.uri.edu/cels/pls/biocontrol/powerpoint/cs.ppt (accessed 2004).

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  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

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