Euphorbia lathyris

Euphorbia lathyris

Caper Spurge
Épurge feuilles01.jpg
Binomial:Euphorbia lathyris
Type:Herbaceous perennial
Light requirements:Full sun to part shade
USDA Hardiness Zone:5-9
Ripe Seed:Dry out and turn brown
Height and spread:48 inches (1.2 m) tall
Toxicity and edibility:Toxic, sap may cause rashes

Euphorbia lathyris (Caper Spurge, Gopher Spurge, Gopher Plant or Mole Plant) is a weedy plant native to Southern Europe (France, Italy, Greece) and as far east as China, but has naturalized in many other regions. that is often used as an ornamental plant and also to protect a garden from gophers.

All parts of the plant, including the seeds and roots are poisonous. Handling may may cause skin irritation as the plant produces latex. While poisonous to humans and most livestock, goats seem to enjoy eating it and are immune to the toxin. However, the toxin can be passed through the goat's milk.


Caper spurge can grow up to 48 inches (1.2 m) tall. The seeds of this plant grow in green clusters of three seeds. When they ripen, they dry out and turn brown.

Growing ConditionsEdit

It lives in partial shade to full sun in USDA zones 5–9.


Some people have had great success planting caper spurges as repellants for gophers and voles, while others found that gophers will eat other plants only a few feet away while completely ignoring the spurges.


Self-seeds freely, but easily pulled.

Pests and DiseasesEdit

See Euphorbia for a list of pests and diseases affecting the genus.