Erect or ascending perennial, herb, 0.1-0.5(-1.2) m high. Fl. green-yellow, Aug to Dec. Sandy & calcareous soils. Disturbed coastal areas, swamps.
Alternative Names. False Caper, Geraldton Carnation Spurge, Terracina Spurge.
General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Short-lived perennial. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Local spread by fruit opening explosively, birds, ants, movement of limestone soils and by machinery. . Sap is poisonous and an irritant. Seedbank persistence. 3-5 years. Fire response. Plants are generally killed by fire, however some resprout. Fire may cause mass germination of soil-stored seed.
Notes. Most common on coastal sandy nutrient-poor calcareous soils, also capable of spreading into fertile inland soils, ephemeral wetlands and saline depressions. Invasion into natural areas is greatly enhanced by disturbance such as grazing, fire and soil movement. Once established is able to invade relatively undisturbed vegetation. Has alleolopathic properties, can reduce germination of other plant species, form dense thickets and out compete native species for space, light and nutrients. Has rapid growth and prolific seed production in the first season. Can grow well or adapt to shade and high light conditions, tolerant of waterlogging and drought. Toxic sap deters native herbivores. Loses most of its leaves during summer. Germination may occurr at any time of the year if there is adequate rainfall. If there is insufficient rainfall, depletion of the seed bank may be relatively slow. Plants from early cohorts produce greater numbers of seeds per plant than late cohorts. Disturbance that brings seed to the soil surface should be avoided, as buried seed is far less likely to germinate. Mature plants have a deep root system and are able to resprout readily when cut, grazed or burnt. Similarly, seedlings are not easily killed through slashing or any physical means that do not remove the enitre plant. Resprouting plants are often more robust and have greater seed output.
Additional information. Origin. Mediterranean coast and islands, Canary Islands in the Atlantic, north of the Red Sea and the Black Sea to Georgia. History of use/introduction. The reasons for its introduction are uncertain, however many species of Euphorbia are used as ornamentals. Similar exotic species. E. peplus, E. paralias.
Suggested method of management and control. Logran® at 12.5 g/100L + the penetrant Pulse ® is very effective on adults and juveniles with little offtarget damage in coastal heathlands. Hand removal can stimulate germination of the soil seedbank. Ensure adequate personal protective clothing is worn to avoid contact with sap. Since seed production is highest from plants which emerge early, it is important to control early cohorts, if not treated when small these become increasingly tolerant to herbicides. Control of the late emergents before seed formation will prevent fresh seeds being added to the existing seed bank. Slashing in November after seed production may result in no vegetative regeneration, due to lack of food reserves in the underground roots and stem - the remaining underground plant parts cannot withstand hot dry summer conditions. Undertake control after any fire event. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.
Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.