July 2018: Sea Spurge



Sea Spurge (Euphorbia paralias) is native to Europe, Africa and nearby Asian countries. This invasive species has become widely established along Australian beaches, particularly in the southern states. Sea Spurge has the potential to crowd out native dune plants and to negatively impact upon beach-nesting shorebirds, including vulnerable species such as Hooded Plovers. 

What is Sea Spurge?*

Sea spurge is a small leafy shrub, pale green in colour. It grows to about 70 cm in height and has multiple stems covered in small tightly packed leaves. Small green flowers appear at the end of the stems and bloom between September and May. It has succulent leaves and releases a milky sap when crushed. 


Where does Sea Spurge grow?*

Sea spurge can grow anywhere on the beach front, from the high water mark to well into the dunes. It colonises both bare sand and the native dune vegetation. Sea spurge has also been found on rocky foreshores and rock shelves, on the steep back dunes and inside the mouths of coastal lakes and estuaries.

For further information visit the OEH 'NSW Weeds' website


What might look similar

There is another coastal weed that, when young, resembles Sea Spurge. If you find any Polygala, please record a sighting of this too. The Coastal Weeds Project is ongoing, and seeks to gather information of each of the ten species listed.

What to record & photograph

The location, an estimate of the number of plants, and their height. If there were a small number of plants and you managed to remove them, also note this with your sighting.

Take photos from above and from the side. Photos which show the size of the plants are also helpful.

NOTE: It is important that you only remove plants if you are confident in their identification. It is also important to take precautions in handling Sea Spurge, as the sap can be toxic and damaging to your eyes. More information is available on the OEH 'NSW Weeds' website


Now simply upload your sightings!

All sightings are recorded on the Atlas of Life NatureMapr database. This is a powerful, easy to use system that you can access from a computer or a mobile device. 


How this information will be used

The Office of Environment and Heritage is coordinating efforts to manage this invasive pest species. The OEH relies upon community assistance in monitoring, reporting and - where appropriate - removing this weed. The Atlas of Life is working with OEH to assist in this important  program.


Kerri-Lee Harris