Sun Spurge - Euphorbia helioscopia


Short to medium, more or less hairless plant.  Stem usually solitary, erect.  Leaves oval, broadest above the middle, blunt, finely toothed in the upper half.  Umbel with 5 main rays and yellowish bracts, similar in shape to the leaves.  

Similar Species

Euphorbia peplus is a similar small spurge

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Leaves glabrous and obovate (widest towards the end not the stalk).  The cyathium (the cup-shaped structure that carries the male and female flowers) is rounded on the outer edge (not concave and with two points, as in E peplus).  The ovary and capsule are glabrous.



Cultivated land, gardens, allotments, arable fields and waste ground.

When to see it

May to August.

Life History


UK Status

Fairly common throughout Britain, but scarcer and more coastal in the north.

VC55 Status

Quite common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 367 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves, 2011) it is listed as Alien (archaeophyte); occasional

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map