Euphorbia palustris
Common Name: bog spurge 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Native Range: Europe, western Asia
Zone: 5 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Green with greenish yellow bracts
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Wet Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of wet soils and can grow in shallow water. Established plants, on the other hand, tolerate some soil dryness. Plants generally appreciate some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Clumps tend to open up and lose their attractive shape in too much shade. Best with sharply-drained soils, however this species tolerates heavier soils than most other species of spurge. Plants are tolerant of poor soils, including rocky-sandy ones. Plants generally prefer a Mediterranean-type climate and may show some stress in hot and humid summers. Wear gloves when working with this plant because plant sap may irritate the skin. Remove flower heads after bloom. Will self-seed in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euphorbia palustris, commonly called marsh euphorbia or spurge, is an upright, clump-forming, herbaceous perennial that typically grows to 2-3' (infrequently to 5') tall. It is native to marshland in Europe and western Asia. Inconspicuous, greenish true flowers (lack both petals and sepals) bloom in late spring to early summer (June-July). Although these true flowers (borne in large 6" wide clusters known as cyathia) are not particularly showy, they are subtended by large, long-lasting, greenish-yellow bracts which are exceptionally showy. Flower color in effect comes from the floral bracts. Elliptic stem leaves (to 2-3" long) and narrower axillary branch leaves are medium green but turn yellow and orange/red in fall.

Genus name probably honors Euphorbus, physician to the King of Mauretania.

Specific epithet from Latin means marsh-loving.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some gardeners experience skin rashes from contact with the toxic sticky plant sap of euphorbias. Aphids, mealybugs, nematodes and spider mites may appear.


Beds and borders. Bog gardens. Woodland margins. Cottage gardens.